Students attend Phantom Fright Nights, learn through DUCares

Capri Scarcelli | Staff Writer

11/07/19

Residence Life posters advertising for the Halloween season appear everywhere throughout the campus in preparation for a safe, fun-filled “Halloweekend” for Duquesne students. 

In spirit of the holiday, Resident Assistant Kayla Harris organized a Kennywood field trip for Saturday, Oct. 26 from 5 p.m. to 11:30 p.m., wherein students could enjoy a thrilling night of rollercoasters, haunted houses and scares. She has been in charge of this event for the past two years.

Freshmen Olena DeAngelo, Cecilia Stroemple and Mackenzie Miller were present at the event. None of the three have been to Kennywood Park, according to Miller. 

The park is notorious for its traditional wooden roller coasters, though also presents a thrilling experience with the emphasis on the haunted realms of the park, from clowns all the way to haunted hospitals. 

“[Kennywood] definitely put us in the Halloween spirit,” Stroemple said. 

Though there were many rides on the to-do list, Stroemple mentioned that the focal point of the night was the lore.

“The haunted houses were very well-staged and the actors were really into it … it felt very real,” Miller said. “I like having a few jump scares; it keeps you on edge with the anticipation.”

DeAngelo agreed.

“A lot of respect goes to those actors because they really get into it … it’s not like they’re just putting on a costume, they’re putting on a persona,” DeAngelo said.

Despite the rainy weather, Stroemple said that they were able to make the most of their time spent together. 

Tickets were $10, as opposed to the regular admission price of $32.99. Kennywood, however, offers 50% off for college students with a valid student ID. According to Harris, Duquesne Program Council (DPC) provided money for the tickets. 

“DPC and Residence Life make it a point to make tickets affordable to all students, so they make tickets either be half the price or less,” Harris said. 

Harris was also in contact with Residence Life and DUCares, who took care of transportation and the pizza provided at the meeting and presentation prior to departure. 

Being that it is Alcohol Awareness Week, Harris decided to incorporate an informational presentation on the dangers of alcoholism, with a speech given by Associate Professor of Sports Marketing, Ronald Dick. 

This was the very first time an educational speech has been given for this field trip, just as it was the very first time Dick has given a speech on such a delicate topic. 

Dick said he wanted to make the presentation fun, relatable and memorable. 

According to Stroemple and DeAngelo, he achieved this perfectly. 

“He was a good speaker. He was funny, but he also used examples that were relatable to us right now,” DeAngelo said. 

Harris said he “executed the importance of the topic gracefully.”

He put a heavy emphasis on the difference between social drinking and binge-drinking, in which an individual can find themselves drinking for the taste versus that of drinking for the effects. 

“When we start drinking for the escapism of the drug, that is where I think we cross the line,” Dick said. “[Excessive drinking] leads to blackouts, forgetting things that happened, losing track of time and things of that nature.” 

According to Dick, college students are impressionable. He mentions that there is a lot of peer pressure involved when it comes to alcohol, especially in terms of fitting in. In order to stay safe this weekend, Dick advises students to not drink excessively and to stay away from alcohol consumption if under the age of 21.

Dick’s desire to educate on the topic comes from his personal experience. 

“The reason I stopped drinking was because I thought I was going to donate part of my liver to my father who was a Type 2 diabetic,” he said. 

The purpose of the presentation was to give students “a relatable understanding of alcohol drinking,” according to Harris. 

This gave the Residence Life field trip an impactful, academic component.

“Alcohol Awareness is extremely important on a college campus because people don’t understand the limits that can put them in danger zones,” Harris said. “I hope students can take away that there are other ways to have fun in college.” 

Harris said that she hopes the students had fun, and that she hopes to continue this program in the future. 

“My favorite part of the night was when I was able to relax once I saw the students coming into the lecture hall and I saw everything come together,” she said.

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