By AERIEL MERILLAT
This past Friday was a bittersweet night for this year’s seniors, as the class of 2015 began the journey toward the end of their undergraduate careers.
Class Council’s 2015 Senior Countdown on Jan. 30 marked the start of the 100 days left until this year’s commencement ceremony, taking place on Saturday, May 9. Every year, the event consists of a casino-themed night, including a variety of games such as poker, roulette, craps and blackjack. This year’s Senior Countdown was held in Goolrick Gym.
This was the first year Class Council held the event in the gym. Cait Cobb, a sophomore Class Council president and international affairs major commented, “It was a lot better than last year’s, which was held in Seacobeck Faculty [and] Staff [Dining] Hall. Having the event in Goolrick provided a lot more space for everybody.”
As cocktail attire-clad students entered into the event, each senior was given a Class Council cup, a raffle ticket and instructions for the games and auction.
To start out with, the seniors received a total of 50,000 cash to play at the various games. At the end of the night, they were given the opportunity to cash in their winnings for an additional raffle ticket or to use it toward an auction prize. The auction prizes, sponsored by Class Council, included gift cards for businesses such as Brocks, Chipotle and Hyperion. Other gifts included a skydiving trip, custom University of Mary Washington wine glasses, a UMW wine stopper, a Keurig coffee machine, a Go-Pro video camera and a custom UMW afghan blanket.
“It is always interesting watching people bid for the prizes,” said Cobb. “A lot of students combine their tokens and end up with totals, like, 2.1 million.”
Class Council successfully turned Goolrick Gym into a mini Las Vegas themed casino. Behind each casino game were members from Class Council and student volunteers dealing the cards, rolling the dice and playing for the house.
Alongside the games, seniors were treated to an oxygen bar and giant projection screens displaying a variety of music videos. The event created a space where the graduating class of 2015 could celebrate the past four years’ accomplishments and all of those yet to come.
Sarah Phillips, senior psychology and business double major, attended Senior Countdown to “try and make the most of my last semester of school and spend time with my friends.”
“I’m trying to go to all of the school events before I graduate,” said Phillips.
While the night may have been a reality check for most seniors realizing their days at UMW are now numbered, Class Council succeeded in creating a successful rendition of the bittersweet yearly tradition that is Senior Countdown.