The popular tradition drew over 1,000 students for a night of inflatables, karaoke, food and fun with the entire Wake Forest community.
Picture stuffed animals, free food, inflatable games, customizable signs and over a dozen prize baskets.
It sounds like a college student’s dream, but all of these elements and more filled the decorated floors of Benson on the night of Saturday, Sept. 24.
Student Union hosts “aWake All Night” each semester in an effort to bring students together for a giant campus-wide celebration.
Junior Jaime Fashimpaur, the director of aWake All Night and leader of the Weekly and Special Events committees for Student Union, describes aWake All Night as an opportunity for students to break out of their comfort zones.
“It seems intimidating to throw yourself into an inflatable, whether it’s a wipeout-style challenge or jousting in giant padded suits of armor,” Fashimpaur said. “Yet when everyone is having a good time on some ridiculously fun obstacles, it’s easier for students to join in on the fun.”
Fashimpaur explained how initially hesitant freshmen quickly joined in after seniors began racing around on bouncy horses at last year’s aWake All Night.
Fashimpaur recognizes better than anyone the meaning of aWake All Night as an event that gives students a sense of home on campus. Over 1,000 students participated in the event.
“Literally everyone comes, from freshmen to seniors,” Fashimpaur said.
The popularity of aWake All Night is not difficult to spot. It is nearly impossible not to be happy when you are building a stuff-a-bear, hunting for golden bricks to increase your chance of winning a prize basket or racing around on inflatable obstacles.
The annual celebration in Benson has come to symbolize the mission of Student Union at its core: students planning engaging and inclusive events for other students, ultimately building a greater sense of campus community.
In a way, Fashimpaur was destined to orchestrate the theme and logistics of aWake All Night.
She first heard of the event while she was only a high school sophomore because her older sister was involved in Student Union and responsible for planning the event four years ago. When she came to Wake Forest in 2014, Jaime immediately joined Student Union and brought her artistic prowess, organizational skills and enthusiasm to the team.
Senior Karli Schlachman, a director of live music for Student Union, supplemented aWake all night with the time-honored tradition of “Late Night Open Mic Night.”
Affectionately nicknamed LNOM, the event happened in Shorty’s at 9 p.m. that night. She describes LNOM as a way for students to showcase their talents in front of their fellow classmates, building on the celebration and sense of community fostered by aWake All Night.
“It was a night full of music, comedy, poetry, good food and good company,” Schlachman said.
Student Union’s efforts to build community will continue throughout the fall and spring semesters as a wealth of events are currently planned or are in the works.
Over 100 students have attended the Friday films, which occur weekly at 8 p.m. in Pugh Auditorium. Tuesday Trivia, another beloved tradition with lucrative prizes for winning teams, occurs biweekly at Shorty’s.
Fallfest, a smaller sister festival to Springfest, celebrates the transition to autumn and will bring together students, faculty and staff for a variety of food, games and fall activities on Friday, Oct. 14.
Finally, the last week of October features the annual Homecoming celebration, a week of festivities uniting the campus under our shared identity as Demon Deacons.
On the horizon remain the annual concert, Lighting of the Quad, a variety of speakers, a Wake Forest birthday bash and other activities ranging from cultural events to sports challenges.
Fashimpaur sums up the vast array of activities best:
“It’s all about students doing things for their fellow students: building a sense of community and making this campus feel like home for every student.”