By Cassandra Lucyk
Student Activities’ semi-annual Penguin Nights event was held on Feb. 24 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. This semester’s theme was Around the World and included a variety of international food, games and prizes.
Youngstown State University has hosted the event for eight years. Kathy Leeper, associate director of Kilcawley Center, said there were new international students at YSU this semester, which led to the theme decision.
“We have over 600 students that are international right now. So, we just thought we’d do something to recognize them,” Leeper said. “Also, to give our students from the United States a chance to learn more about other cultures and just to have a party that celebrates everyone around the world.”
Before Penguin Nights, focus groups were held to garner information about countries and culture. Jordan Record, graduate assistant for Student Activities, said international students had input on the activities.
“The focus groups were a lot of brainstorming. We invited a bunch of international students to come in so we could get some ideas of different celebrations around the world, games that they play,” Record said. “We talked about different sports, methods of entertainment and just things that mattered to their culture that they wanted to be represented.”
Lauren McFadden, graduate assistant at Kilcawley Center for Programming and Event Planning, said she helped with the game selection.
“The one that I was most involved with was the Family Feud event. We had about five rounds of Family Feud and we had two teams playing against each other. They competed for some really fun prizes, and in between each round we had a Minute to Win It game,” McFadden said.
Other events were bingo, henna tattoos, a photobooth with different countries in the background, gaming consoles, a dance party with music from all around the world, indoor ice skating and inflatables.
Leeper said attendance has fluctuated over time, with it rising and falling because of the pandemic.
“In the past before COVID, we used to get like 900 people at this sometimes. Then COVID happened, and people who are here now might not remember it because they weren’t here then,” Leeper said. “We’re building back up. We only had about 400 to 450 at the last one in the fall.”
McFadden said this semester’s Penguin Nights had a higher turnout than last semester.
“We had about 656 people show up,” McFadden said. “I heard really good things from people, they seemed to really enjoy it.”
The next Penguin Night will be held in the upcoming fall semester. For more information, contact Kathy Leeper at [email protected].