Partying and bar-hopping typically characterize St. Patrick’s Day in college towns, but an alcohol-free event sponsored by the university gave students an alternative way to celebrate the holiday.
Shamrockfest took place on Saturday, the day most students celebrate St. Paddy’s Day. The majority of the activities were held in Perkins, but a free breakfast was also held in Trabant. The university wanted to offer students a safe alternative to partying through multiple activities and aid students who were going out by offering free food.
Shamrockfest was created in 2014, making this its fourth year, after the Division of Student Life began targeting days considered “high risk” on campus for programming.
Logan Penna, who is a member of the Student Wellness & Health Promotion staff, was the chair of the event committee this year. He looked to make Shamrockfest a collaborative event with many departments in order to promote the event to as many people as possible.
Shamrockfest featured activities like Quizzo, raffles from different departments on campus, caricature artists, airbrush tattoo artists, face painters, coloring, stuff-a-bear, giant yard games and even community service activities hosted by the university’s chapter of Alpha Phi Omega.
Penna discussed how most of the other holidays are about giving. He was excited to add the service event to this year’s Shamrockfest because it extends that idea to St. Patrick’s Day, which is not a holiday normally associated with giving.
Amy Nichols, a sophomore, volunteered for the event representing the Healthy HENS. Healthy HENS is a program on campus that promotes wellness, and HENS stands for “Healthy Exercise Nutrition and Sleep.” She discussed how this event worked to offer safe choices and another opportunity to students who did not want to drink or go out.
“We are just here to try to promote everybody to drink safely if they’re choosing to drink,” Nichols said.
Many students were taking advantage of the activities in Perkins as well as the free food in both Perkins and Trabant. Penna said that by the end of the free breakfast in Trabant, they had completely run out of food which was a huge success for the event.
“A first level goal for this event is to really provide student with healthier safer options for celebrating a holiday,” Penna said.