Whether a Sonoma State University student is an incoming freshman or a longtime senior, one thing is guaranteed for their first couple of days on the campus, they all have an opportunity to attend the annual Big Nite event. The event is an admission free fair of the sorts, providing a fun time for students before it’s time to go back to classes.
Despite the event being limited to students, there have been reports of the turnout growing once again this year. A large amount of students live on the campus in Rohnert Park, which makes it easier to attend, but more students off-campus were to be seen as well.
“The turnout’s bigger and it helps that people going here want to make the most of their year,” said Jackie Wilson, representative for community service organization JUMP. “And this event is a big hand for that. People not only get opportunities to check out rides and games, they get to see their peers, they get to dance, they get to explore campus and get connected with various clubs for things to do during the year - it’s a great way to de-stress.”
Event attractions included rides such as a Ferris-wheel style ride called Rampage, where riders sit in open seats while it spins around at variable speeds. There was the Glass House, a simple maze where guests made their way through various glass walls. The American Warrior was a new attraction, an obstacle course where one would go through inflatables, climb up nets and a race through the top.
A returning favorite was the Tilt-A-Whirl, where guests held on tight as they were spun around in a gigantic disc-shaped center that would raise and move in dizzying positions.
However, the attractions weren’t just outside. The Student Recreation Center was also open for the night and displayed a gigantic bounce house, as well as a meltdown mechanical ride, so people could increase their energy.
Recreation and work out amenities were also provided for returning students, including treadmills, bikes, weight lifting, basketball, ping pong and foosball.
The games were also varied. There was a ball bounce, a water shooting game, a milk bottle game and two high strikers were set up. Prizes ranged from stuffed animals to inflatable bats. Air hockey tables were also set up outside.
In the student center, students were able to play another game where they had to slide out as many tickets as they could through a vented box and that number would give them Wolfbucks, a form of currency they keep on their IDs they can use all year to purchase food or drinks on campus.
The student center also treated them to free snacks, crafts, coloring, two caricature artists, and a chance to go to the bookstore on the second floor and check it out.
Later in the evening, music and dancing brought many attendees together. The local station Hot 101.7 held a platform near the rides where they blasted a variety of music where students excitedly danced. They would also toss out Big Nite branded t-shirts every now and then, students racing to catch them.
There were also tables for local attractions, such as Swirl Time Yoghurt, Shari’s Café and Pies. Students were able to engage with the people at the booths and get to know their community, and got to prepare for a new school year.
One of the other essential components of Big Nite, are the clubs that get a chance to share information with students and bring in those interested in becoming members.
Sonoma State University provides a large variety of organizations to get involved in, from school affiliated ones that help bring people to big events, to small ones that pertain to various interests and important issues. The clubs ranged from Black Student Union, to Associated Students Productions and JUMP, to the Reading Club, to Frisbee Club and SSU Rotaract.
“This event really helps us connect with other students not just for club purposes, but for making friends,” said Yasmine Tadross, representative for ASP. “People get all kinds of opportunities here.”