In an effort to be “less secluded” and more welcoming to the entire campus, the Venue event put on by the Honors Scholars Program moved to the Soderquist Business Center for this spring’s event.
Following the theme of a Brazilian Carnaval, the sound of Reggae music echoed through the lobby as the smell of Brazilian coffee wafted through the air. Some students got their faces painted, while others mingled, stood around and otherwise socialized.
Even though it was frigid outside, sophomore Shane Buxman enthusiastically enjoyed welcoming each guest at the door. At his encouragement, students dropped their names in a drawing for some hand-sewn pillows made from burlap coffee bags.
Midway through the evening, students could watch a brief instruction video on how to Samba dance and then attempt to persuade their hips to move the way the instructor’s did. Some had more success than others.
“The Venue is to provide cultural and educational awareness, at each event we want to expose people to something new, combining a little education and a little fun,” said senior Anna Lane, president of the Honors Executive Council. “We want to show them that honors kids have fun too.”
Several Latino students really enjoyed hearing music from their countries.
Cesia Melendez, a freshman from Guatemala, was especially surprised at the music choice. She said she missed hearing familiar music in America, and she could not help but dance a little bit.
Some little chocolate balls, called brigadeiros, and some flavorful rice balls accompanied the pour-over brewed coffee from Pour Jon’s.
The idea of doing a Brazilian theme was senior Megan Stoll’s, the event director on the Council. The rest of the Council voted and approved the theme.
Megan’s twin sister, Sara, also a senior, helped make the idea a reality. Sara and Kelsey Gulliver, also a senior, are work-study students for Glenda Manos, the program’s administrative assistant.
“She gives us up to help make the Honor’s Council’s vision come true,” said Sara.
The educational aspect was mainly their responsibility, so they spent much time researching what a real Brazilian Carnaval would be like, and planning the details of the event. The rest of the Executive Council members helped with the event as well.
Lane said, “Aside from a few glitches, it’s gone really well.”
Buxman and Lane described one of the glitches—the location of the event. Traditionally, the Venue has been held in the Honors Center, but this year the Council looked for a place with more exposure on the campus.
They had originally selected the 2nd floor lobby in the Soderquist Business Center as an ideal location. However, only days before the event, they received an email saying they could not use the room, even though they had reserved it weeks in advance. Instead, the event was moved to the echoing lobby downstairs. Although it was frustrating, the council made the best of the circumstances.
“We had lots of setbacks and last minute changes, but it really came together and was a team effort,” said Sara.