Rec Wars: The campus awakens

Student Events Team takes MSU far, far away

On March 19, the Minnesota State University, Mankato galaxy converged on campus to engage in Rec Wars, a night of blacklight events hosted by the Student Events Team.

Between lightsaber bouts, yoga and Zumba in Pennington Hall, laser tag in Otto, and cosmic climbing in Myers Field House, Jedi and Sith alike had no shortage of activities on Saturday night.

“It’s an alternative way to have fun. It’s promoting healthy behaviors and choices,” said Courtney Sill, member of the Student Events Team.

In the entirety of Rec Wars, the Force was strongest in Pennington, where students from the MSU Fencing Club led lightsaber fighting. Miranda Baldwin and Anastasia Reino demonstrated official lightsaber technique, which is similar to fighting with bokken in kendo. However, there was still room for alternative, more uncultured methods of winning a match, like whacking opponents in the chest and knocking them to the ground.

Fun was had by all, and all participants did wear facemasks, courtesy of the club. Several true Star Wars patriots showed up with themed T-shirts and soundtracks for their individual battles. “Luke! I am your father…” was a common cry.

In the room across the hall, students taught yoga and Zumba. The classes alternated every hour, so the studio morphed from a meditative space hazy with purple reflections to a dance floor hopping with neon T-shirts. Both beginners and more experienced participants came to try the fun.

One Zumba first-timer appreciated the dark studio and blacklights, so her flailing attempts at fitness dance would be less noticeable.

Student Events is already experienced at running laser tag. In January 2015, they hosted “Mav War,” solely a laser tag event also themed around Star Wars, with techno music and galactic lighting. This year, they planned for laser tag to be even more dazzling. However, Student Events team member Rachael Winch reported that they struggled with dysfunctional equipment. Only about a fifth of the rental guns worked properly, which caused backup. However, participants still seemed to have a great time, even with fewer weapons available.

Meanwhile, the rock wall in Myers Field House was a canvas of spinning, floating cosmic colors. Lights created a whole new atmosphere for climbers new and old, as the blacklights made the neon tape marking their graded routes glow in the dark. The spectacle drew a large crowd. “We have had a lot of regulars, but a quite a few new people have shown up,” said Meghan Babcock, staff member at the rock wall. The staff were constantly busy handing out gear and giving orientations to first-time climbers.

Adding other blacklight activities to this annual laser tag event was hugely successful. Rec Wars appealed to a wider variety of students this year. It also had a less crowded atmosphere, because the students were spread out at different activities.

Morgan Romero, president of the Student Events Team, was pleased with the event’s result. “We always try to think of new twists to put on events to make them bigger and better,” said Romero. “People are having a great time.”

Photo: (Courtesy of Bill Tourville)

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