LateNighter welcomes students to campus with free entertainment

Before exams, papers and readings creep back into students’ lives, the Illini Union Board’s Welcome Week will help students say farewell to summer and hello – or at least welcome back – to college life.

The Illini Union LateNighter is one of the events kicking off this year’s Welcome Week.

The night aims to present a variety of activities for students to enjoy during their first weekend on campus before classes and hectic schedules start.

At the Illini Union LateNighter there will be, “dueling pianos, video games, bowling and billiards, a photo booth, live music, comedian Arvin Mitchell, hypnotist Daniel James, the movie This Is It, dancing and many other activities throughout the Union,” said Catherine Heidke-Link, program advisor at the office of student programs and activities.

Heidke-Link said in addition to bowling and billiards in the Union’s basement, the hypnotist is typically one of the most popular parts of the LateNighter.

This event is not only a chance to meet new friends and catch up with old ones, but it’s also an opportunity to explore the Illini Union, which is a focal point of campus activity throughout the school year.

“LateNighter is amazing. Every room is filled with something fun to do,” said Mara Dahlgren, senior in LAS and president of the Illini Union Board. “It’s a great time for all the new students on campus, as well as all of the returning students.”

In previous years at the LateNighter, Dahlgren remembers enjoying the comedians, rock climbing and karaoke, among other activities and performances offered.

The Illini Union LateNighter would not be possible without the staff of the Illini Union and the staff of the event, said Heidke-Link. They are responsible for planning and staffing the entire evening.

Heidke-Link recommends checking out the snacks offered at the LateNighter.

“We will also have free food giveaways including cotton candy, popcorn, hotdogs and other treats,” she said.

The Illini Union LateNighter has been a popular campus event for years, but there will be some fresh activities offered this year.

“We are bringing in comedian Arvin Mitchell for the first time, and we are showing an outdoor movie on the west side of the building by the Diana Fountain,” said Heidke-Link.

“For new students, many of them will come with their roommates or people from their floor and it’s a great way to get to know all of their new friends and have a great time,” said Dahlgren.

The LateNighter is an ideal event for getting to know new faces while having fun, all for free.

“As for returning students, LateNighter is a great change of pace. It’s something different to do on campus,” said Dahlgren.

Both new and returning students will find something of interest at the Illini Union LateNighter.

“It’s a great chance to explore the Illini Union, meet new people, and participate in one of the largest events,” said Heidke-Link.

The LateNighter, planned and sponsored by the Illini Union, is from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday. Admission is free.