On any other day, the iconic casino atmosphere of Las Vegas, Nevada, is 2,340 miles, one time zone and a 34-hour drive from Shippensburg University. However, against all odds, SU students could get a taste of Vegas nightlife without leaving campus last Saturday night.
From 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. in the Ceddia Union Building’s Multipurpose Room (MPR) on Jan. 27, students could stop in and be high rollers and enjoy the height of luxury without spending a penny. Activities Program Board (APB) volunteers handed plastic bags of chips to students as they entered. Each student started with a handful, and aimed to increase their money. Chips ranged in value depending on their color, the lowest at $100, and the highest at $10,000. Every $2,000 was worth one ticket.
Students could trade their winnings for tickets that were later drawn for prizes. Prizes ranged from Starbucks gift cards to SU gear to coffee machines, and even a flat screen TV. Prizes were displayed on a table and guarded by APB members.
Volunteers manned other stations including craps tables, a roulette wheel and blackjack tables. Students had several dealers to choose from, so there was no hope to be lost if you were down on your luck in the first round.
Some students were dressed up, some dressed down. No matter how you dressed, mixing and mingling was full speed ahead. Cocktail tables littered the center of the MPR, decorated with floral centerpieces and tablecloths. A mocktail station set up on the side of the room offered drinks to taste — a Shirley Temple, sparkling cider and a delectable concoction called “cranberry and orange juice mix.”
Students huddled around tables, hungry for winnings. Chatter and laughter filled the room, nearly overpowering the blaring music. Multicolored flashing lights danced across the walls, transforming an otherwise ordinary room into a vibrant hub of nightlife. The only thing that gave away the real location of this quasi-casino was the lack of showgirls, sideshows and smoke.
Junior Kaitlin Deimler took her chances at the craps table. She played several rounds and said she was just there to see what happens. Nya Foster and Kristin Naumann, both juniors, stuck together while going from table to table.
“I’m not sure, but I’d like to win money. I’d like to play blackjack, too.” Naumann said.
Casino night offered a realistic alternative to gambling. Real-life consequences did not apply for once, and students had a care-free environment to enjoy with friends.