When School and Community Unite

Family Night 2016

When you think of Arizona Western College’s Student Government Association you think of the best of the best students to walk the halls, not students shaking their hips to Elvis Presley's “Hound Dog” on a stage in front of a crowd of people. Well, that's exactly what took place at this year’s Family Night. A night where AWC's clubs as well as organizations from the community - from the Red Cross to Job Corps and even local business like Yuma Dentistry 4 Kids - came together to show case their unity and to invite families to join in the fun.

The event, held November 17, took up a football-field worth of space in and around the 3C building and featured a stage in the middle and a hot-air balloon in back of the Eatery.

Focus on kids

The name "Family Night" gives an indication of the activities that were part of the night. There were booths focused on children. The children had their own play areas, including a soccer field with miniature goals on either side. A large grassy area found kids and adults playing with volley balls, hula hoops and bubble blowing machines.

Beside the field, small tables were set up for toddlers to play with Play-Doh and draw on personalized paper hats they made. One booth had a tablet hooked up to a monitor with the game, Crossy Road.

"Look Mom I'm on television," said a kid being filmed by AWC's Television Production team.

Most of the children were timid at first, but once they realized they were on camera they turned into crazed dancing robots.

Clubs, organizations

Family Night had everything; clubs, other colleges and a mini food fair. AWC clubs and organizations were there to spread awareness and promote positivity.

Phi Theta Kappa had a recycling game where contestants were given household materials and asked whether or not the materials could be recycled. Media Arts had participants throw tightly rolled newspaper into holes cut out of cardboard - much harder than it sounds. They gave out cups, pencils and, yes, the campus newspaper as prizes.

The Geography Club had Geography Bingo where players had to match three cities in a row. AWC's Gay-Straight Alliance for Equality had a game for children to play Pin-the-Horn-on-the- Pony. They had an empathy board where people could write positive messages such as "Be yourself" and "Proud to be me". Other booths such as the Poetry and Radiologie Technology clubs were selling merchandise like pots, shirts and bags.

The NAU-sponsored "Avid for Higher Education", celebrating every student's potential, had children shooting basketball hoops for writing what they thought might help them be successful in college.

For a diversity of palates

Each vendor in the cafeteria was an AWC club or an organization. They ranged from the Music Club selling Churros to the Residents Hall Association selling sweet bread. The dining options were classic fair food; candy, nachos, chips, lemonade, hot dogs, baked potatoes, brownies, corn salad - too much to name. The crystallized sugar from the churros overpowered everything the other vendors offered.

Back outside on the main stage, the pie-eating contest was a spectacle to see, with students and staff members covered in fruit pie filling. The last event on the program was salsa dancing.

Family Night began in 2001 as a way to display the many different programs that AWC had to offer but now includes the other colleges that share the campus, like UofA and NAU.

"I have never been to Family Night before, and I enjoyed it because all the, clubs, family and friends were there having a good time,” said student Jonathan Aguirre. "People can go there to make moments with friends and family - taking pictures in the photo booth, singing karaoke or dancing."

Every year there are changes that improve the night for the following year. For more information on Family Night, contact Shara Roberts, coordinator of Student Leadership and Activities.

Photos by Alex Lustra

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