By Christina Hallowell, Vice President and Hannah Forbush, Staff Writer
The largest annual social event for the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) student body is the Halloween dance put on by the student run Association for Campus Entertainment (ACE). This year, the dance will be held on October 24 at 10 p.m. in the South Dining Hall. There will be some changes at the dance this year, including an increase in security at the event.
ACE works closely with UMF’s Department of Public Safety in planning the many social events on campus. In the past the Halloween Dance has had more alcohol related problems than any other event. “The last few years at least there has been, unfortunately, at least one student that has been arrested,” said Brock Caton, Chief of Police at UMF. “The Halloween Dance is usually our most volatile event of the year.”
“This year I’ll have 5 police officers on duty for the event,” said Caton. “We’re looking to get another 14 Event Security students to staff the event as well.” These numbers are indeed increased from previous years, but only because the number of Event Staff is reflective of how many students are willing to work the event. The Event Staff don’t actually intervene in problems that may arise. “They’re additional eyes and ears for the event,” said Caton.
The primary goal of both ACE and Public Safety is to create a safe environment where everyone can have a great time. In years past students have arrived at the dance intoxicated and also smuggled alcohol into the dance. “We’re not trying to limit the students’ good time at the Halloween event, but alcohol always exacerbates the situation and can tend to make things worse,” said Caton. “It’s really all for the overall security. We try to limit what gets in there.”
ACE Members, the Event Staff Coordinator Nicholas Bucci, and Caton had a meeting Friday October 17th to discuss the dance and events in the future. Caton has a few ideas to make securing the dance easier on the security staff. “We would [eventually] like to see the dance have only one entrance point,” said Caton. “[We want] to limit the amount of people leaving and coming back.” Caton explained that having only one entrance point will limit the chaos rather than trying to secure multiple doors at the campus events. The increases in security will not impact any of the popular features of the dance that everyone has enjoyed in the past. “I don’t think that the security of the dance will change too drastically at least not to the point that it will turn people away,” said ACE president Jane Fournier. “If anything they are just trying to make sure people stay safe and have a good time.”
As it does every year, the 2014 Halloween Dance will feature a costume contest. This event is always popular with UMF students and will feature costume categories such as best couple’s costume and spookiest costume. “The students are very creative!,” said Maya Kasper, the Assistant Director for the Center of Student Involvement. “They’ve created some of the best costumes I’ve ever seen.” Kasper plays a vital role in helping ACE prepare for this event, and says that she most looks forward to the costume contest every year.
The Halloween Dance is a great fundraiser for ACE. While it is a free event for students, non-students will be charged a five-dollar entry fee. Fournier explained “Dances usually bring in between $500 and $700 dollars, which is an awesome profit when it is free to the UMF students with IDs.” This money is a well-earned reward for the club whose members have been preparing for the dance since early September.
The dance has a yearly turnout of 400 to 700 students and community members. According to Fournier, “This year we have over 100 people that have RSVP’d on the Facebook event page.” There are expected to be several-hundred additional students and guests attending. “It is always a crazy night,” said Boyes, “but I’m sure everyone will make a lot of great memories and will hopefully have an amazing night.”