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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Campus Center Fun and Games

UMass Boston students next week will experience something they’ve never seen before-a four-day festival of events and programs under one roof as students and university community celebrate the opening of the UMass Boston Campus Center.

Between March 31 and April 2, the campus will get a first look at the programming capabilities of the Campus Center through events and entertainment planned to welcome students and the university community to the first new building on campus since 1981.

Events include a faculty author reading as well as a performance by hypnotist Frank Santos on Wednesday, a carnival of food and games on Thursday, a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday morning and a dance party in the ballroom that night. In between, students will find raffles, a scavenger hunt, even a game of Twister. The events have been organized by students, Student Life staff and the Office of Student Affairs.

While planning has focused on student interests, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs J. Keith Motley said all members of the university are welcome at events.

“I see it as an opportunity to bring together people from across campus to a place that will become the heart of UMass Boston,” Motley said. “The Campus Center will bring all the dimensions of university culture into a place where we can cross boundaries and learn new things about each other.”

Motley and staff members have taken the suggestions of the Beacon Think Tank, a group of students who provide feedback and ideas about student life and campus culture. The new facility will allow students and staff the chance to do things they could never before carry out, said Joyce Morgan, director of Student Life.

“We could never do this before,” said Morgan, who this month relocated her office from Wheatley Hall to the third floor of the Campus Center. “We’d have to kick students out of the Ryan Lounge to make space. To have a building like this for student programming is tremendous. You can already see it offers us so many more options.”

The celebration kicks off at 8am Wednesday, March 31, at the Atrium Cafe with a community breakfast of bagels, donuts and coffee hosted by Chancellor Jo Ann M. Gora and Vice Chancellor Motley. In the Alumni Room at 1pm, UMass Boston faculty authors will read from their work.

From 2:30pm to 4pm on Wednesday, hypnotist Frank Santos brings his saucy act to the ballroom. In the evening, free movies will be shown in the cafeteria.

On Thursday, the UMass Boston Jazz Band kicks off the festivities at 1pm with a concert in the cafeteria. The Campus Center festival takes place from 2:30pm to 5:30pm, with the Campus Center “streets” lined with food giveaway stands and novelty booths featuring caricature artists, basketball hoop shooting, tarot card readers and others.

The Campus and Community Affairs Committee of the Student Senate is conducting a game of Twister. “What we’re all about is building community and bringing people together, which is why we’re going with Twister,” said Todd Babbitt, a junior majoring in Biology and the chairman of the committee.

On Friday, gamers can show their skills in the game room where a Madden Football demonstration will take place, along with contests at the pool tables and the video games.

At 11:30am, pomp and circumstance are in order as Chancellor Gora, Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healy, Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino and other dignitaries cut the ribbon on the new Campus Center.

From 7:30pm to midnight, the Campus Center ballroom will host its first dance party. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to bring a guest and enjoy hors d’ouvres, non-alcoholic beverages, international food and music provided by JAM’N 94.5 disc jockeys.

Between Wednesday and Friday, students can compete in a scavenger hunt that will send them throughout the building looking for clues. Students who complete the puzzle will be eligible for a raffle drawing, featuring a grand prize of free tuition for one semester.

On the second floor lobby, take in University Photographer Harry Brett’s display of photographs documenting the two-year construction of the Campus Center.

“This is a way to open our community to visitors and give them an opportunity to understand that we are more than most of them probably thought we were,” said Motley. “When you walk into such a dynamic building and there are wonderful things happening there, it takes the attitude of those who encounter that to another level.”