With Loyola students unpacking their bags and settling into campus, student life is gearing up for a return to semi-normalcy this fall. For many first-years and sophomores, this week is the first time they’ll step on campus as a student.
Welcome Week offers students a plethora of activities to adjust into the groove of college life, and the Department of Programming (DOP) have readied the Saturday Night of Comedy, their first major event since before the pandemic.
The event will be held in Gentile Arena Aug. 28 at 8 p.m., headlined by comedic superstar Marlon Wayans (“White Chicks,” “The Wayans Bros.”). To attend, students can register on LUCommunity or scan the QR code located on the DOP’s Instagram.
Raphaella Trevil, the executive director of the DOP, said she’s excited to host a big event, but stressed the importance of precautions, such as mask-wearing and COVID-19 testing if students feel sick.
“With COVID still being a thing, we are going to be aware of that and socially distance as much as we can,” Trevil, 20, said. “Thank God the university has vaccination protocols in place. But, I think it will just make us safer staying masked up through the entire event.”
The DOP expects to host more than 300 students in Gentile Arena, and early attendees can receive a tote bag courtesy of the organization. To spread the word, they have taken to their social media pages with giveaways and trivia.
Trevil said she wants to give students a voice to shape all DOP events. For the Saturday Night of Comedy, the organization posted a poll on their Instagram asking what students would like to see at the event.
“We are intentional in what we do,” Trevil said. “Students are our first priority in planning an event.”
Leading up to the event, the DOP hosted Marlon Wayans trivia on their Instagram story, with the three winners given DOP swag bags, an autographed flyer and a fast pass to DOP events.
The Saturday Night of Comedy helps kick off Welcome Week and introduce new students to campus. It will also serve students who haven’t experienced campus life due to the pandemic.
“Our main focus with our marketing is to get everyone excited, not just about the school year starting, but all of the DOP events that we’re gonna have from now until the future,” Takayla Patterson, the DOP’s main-stage director, said. “[We’re] just trying to get the campus all together to support the event.”
After a series of virtual and smaller events, Patterson said she’s thrilled for the DOP’s return to large events.
“This is our first in-person event since COVID [took] away the opportunity for us to get to know each other the normal way,” Patterson, 26, said. “Hopefully, you all will get to enjoy laughing on your side alongside me.”
Whether students are coming in a large group or by themselves, the DOP encourages all to attend. And those with an interest in joining the DOP itself are encouraged to speak with the directors.
“Never stay home, well, unless there’s a public pandemic going on,” Trevil said. “But if you can, we should be saying yes to having new experiences. Because you don’t want to regret it, that’s one thing. You never want to regret not going to something or not doing something.
The Loyola DOP’s Saturday Night of Comedy will take place at 8 p.m. in Gentile Arena. Students can find giveaway tables the day of the event featuring swag and a promotional packet regarding the return to campus, as well as prizes within the event.