Walking through the silvered tinseled door of the 1787 Room at the Campus Center on March 29, a greeter dressed up in an elegant suit warmly welcomed you.
“Welcome to Casino Night! Play, eat, and have fun,” Ashley Acuna said with a big smile.
To the right of the entrance a makeshift bar was laid out. On one side you were carded and asked if you were drinking, on the other sat a delicious display of pizza and wings.
As the room began to fill, the sounds of people’s voices and the scraping of poker chips against the tables were a low hum offset by the lively music. It didn’t take long for a few of the six tables of the normal college meeting room to fill. Concentration on many faces overtook excitement as rousing games of poker and blackjack began.
But there were other games too, from Jenga and craps to even a wall adorned with balloons. For every game you won, players received a ticket that they’d place in one of six cups laid out on a table, each holding a different prize. The prizes ranged from $10 iTunes cards to an iPod Nano.
Maddie Hope, an area coordinator and part of the Residence Hall Association, talked about the programs RHA put together, including Casino Night.
“The RHA’s goal is to provide education to the students while still making the program interesting and fun,” Hope said.
While partaking an exciting game of Jenga, Tianna Leddick, said she knew nothing about Casino night until a few minutes earlier.
“I didn’t even know this event was happening tonight. I was sitting downstairs in the Campus Center when someone came down and asked us to join,” Leddick said.
But while students gambled and sipped beers, there were subtle messages behind the event, said RHA member and CA Kristin Nolan.
Throughout the night, Hope would walk around the room and casually place out strips of colored paper in front of gambling students. Each slip had a message related to sex, drinking and gambling.
“The message was to model safe drinking by having a maximum of three beers. Also the program touched on gambling addictions as well as safe sex information,” Hope said. “While handing out facts I saw people having serious conversations over them. They seemed to be really receptive to it.”
As the night wound down, the games became more intense as players scrambled for that one last big win.
CA Pete Marcano, who dressed up for the occasion with his hair slicked back and wearing expensive sunglasses, seemed ready for the next event.
“The outcome was impressive, but overall I had a great time and would love to have another Casino Night next year!” Marcano said.