Penguin Nights Go Virtual

By Kierston Richardson

Penguin Nights serves as a chance for students to build new relationships and enjoy their time as Youngstown State University Penguins. Past themes include “Winter Wonderland,” “Roaring Twenties” and “Blast from the Past,” but due to the pandemic, Penguin Nights looks different this year.

Carrie Anderson, associate director of student activities, said there’s a need for Penguin Nights. 

“There’s a need to do some different programming with different groups of people and to just enjoy time with each other,” Anderson said. 

Vaughn Myers, associate director of Kilcawley Center, said students can benefit from Penguin Nights. 

“It’s about inclusion and engagement. Students can meet new people, get more involved and have an overall better experience at YSU,” Myers said. 

Kathy Leeper, also an associate director of Kilcawley Center, said any student with a valid YSU ID is able to attend Penguin Nights. 

“We keep Penguin Nights exclusive for students only,” Leeper said. 

Leeper said a committee of people from student activities and Kilcawley Center come up with a theme for Penguin Nights. 

“We share some ideas and decide on one, and we try to program around the holidays,” Leeper said. 

 Leeper said there are numerous activities for students to enjoy during Penguin Nights. 

“We always have a theme, and we do activities based on that theme. One time it was Las Vegas themed, so we had professionals come in and teach students how to gamble for prizes,” Leeper said. “We have live dancing and music. We had a beach theme, and we had a mechanical surfboard. We always have bingo, and sometimes we have live performers.” 

Myers said Penguin Nights are different this year due to COVID-19. 

“We are doing virtual bingo. We will have students sign up online to fill the spots. Students can pick up pumpkins to paint and decorate them at home,” he said. “There will be a virtual caricature artist, and the caricature artist will draw students online.” 

Myers said they have seen a growth in numbers since they first started Penguin Nights five years ago. 

“When we first started, we usually had 400 people attend. So, it’s grown exponentially over the years,” he said. “Now, we have about 700 students attend penguin nights every time. We’ve had 850 students attend one time.” 

The first of fall semester’s Penguin Nights is Oct. 30 from 8-10 p.m.