Student-run group aims to break social barriers through Barn Dance

University of Illinois’ Events held a “Welcome Back Barn Dance” that over 200 students attended on Thursday night. The event aimed to unify students from all different kinds of backgrounds and communities across campus.

The group is student-run and is not affiliated with the University. In the past, it has held bar crawls, concerts, parties and fundraisers across campus, but this is the first campus-wide barn dance the organization has hosted.

Saagar Gupta, a co-founder of the group and junior in Business, said he hoped the dance would break down social barriers among students.

“The barn dance is one of the best traditions at the University, and we believe that all kinds of students would be drawn to attending this event,” he said. “Campus, right now, is segregated between different ethnicities, different types of groups, and our goal is to give students the opportunity to meet and connect with a variety of people.”

Mikayla Eastman, a freshman in the college of LAS, expressed her excitement for the event.

“I found out (about the barn dance) through the University of Illinois’ Events Facebook page and I think it’s a great idea to include everyone on campus; I’m happy to meet new people,” she said.

The $15 ticket to the barn dance included transportation to the event, hayrides, s’mores, a bonfire and live music.

“Everyone in attendance was there to have a great time; many of which had not had the opportunity to go to a barn dance before,” said Gupta.

Alexia Fuller, a study-abroad student from Australia and junior in LAS, said that the event allowed her to experience a traditional American barn dance.

“It’s great that I have the opportunity to attend such a unique and different kind of party. On such a large campus, it’s nice to see all types of students coming together for a night,” she said.

While the event started off slow, as the night progressed, students became more comfortable, said Gupta.

“At first it was awkward being around people you’ve never met, but it started coming together at the dance floor, multiple bonfires and hayrides. By the end of the night, everyone had come together and went out of their comfort zone to talk to others. It was a success,” Gupta said.

Amirah can be reached at [email protected]