2nd annual 'Lollanobooza' provides Rutgers students with night of alcohol-free fun
...and dinosaur chicken nuggets
RU Experience celebrated a second annual "Lollanobooza," a night of booze-free fun last Friday.
RU Experience organized the liquor-less celebration to take place on Feb. 24 in the College Avenue Student Center. Starting at 10 p.m., Lollanobooza provided students with the opportunity to party on the weekend without the presence of alcohol.
Though the sober-themed event returned to the College Avenue Student Center for its second consecutive year, Lollanobooza has been around for longer than two years. RU Experience decided to resurrect the event after a five-year hiatus, said Stephanie Reif, a graduate associate of Major Events and Programming.
“Probably 10 years ago at this point, they started Lollanobooza,” she said. “It’s a play on words on the music festival Lollapalooza. The program started as a government initiative to calm down drinking on campuses using government grants. We decided to bring it back last year. It went really well, so we decided to do it again this year.”
Reif said the main goal of Lollanobooza is to offer a fun event for Rutgers students that does not involve drinking. She said that programs like this are important because they encourage students to choose alternative ways to have fun on a Friday night other than going to bars.
“A lot of our events are programmed so it’s an alternative to drinking,” Reif said. “Lollanobooza is the event specifically not for it. We enjoy supporting our students in a fun and safe environment like this. It’s a really fun program to host. Hopefully, we will be hosting it again next year.”
At the College Avenue Student Center, Lollanobooza offered many opportunities for students to have fun in a safe environment. This year, RU Experience chose to host the party with a 90s theme. Separated into three rooms, the event enlisted a variety of Rutgers student organizations to join the party to provide entertainment for the student guests.
In the main ballroom, student groups such as the Nutrition Club hosted games and different activities aimed at encouraging safe drinking attitudes. Tables with games lined the room, alongside a buffet of foods including dinosaur chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese and potato smiles.
The offer of free food was too enticing to pass up, said Gavin McGee, a sophomore in the School of Arts and Sciences. He said the all-you-can-eat buffet was all it took for him to choose to come to Lollanobooza instead of barhopping around New Brunswick.
“There was free food and I was about it,” McGee said. "I’d rather eat for free than pay to drink. That’s an easy decision in my mind. And this buffet is pretty great. I’d come to events like this all the time if they have food like this.”
Noah Gurbin, a School of Arts and Sciences sophomore, said that while the buffet attracted him to Lollanobooza, the atmosphere made him stay even after he had finished eating.
“I came out tonight to eat the food. I heard that there would be free food and here I am,” Gurbin said. “I’m okay with this party. There’s a lot more vegetables here than an off-campus party with alcohol, that’s for sure. I would go to something like this again.”
In another room, dancing students crowded on a dimly lit dance floor, complete with a DJ and glow sticks. Adjacent to that, students could play a money grabbing game for the chance to win a prize. Additionally, there was a large inflatable castle where a version of inflatable basketball could be played inside.
While abstinence from alcohol, as well as the buffet, was the main attraction of the event, the 90s theme helped draw more students to the party. Lindsey Katz, a graduate student at the School of Social Work, said she came to Lollanobooza specifically because of the retro theme, regardless of the fact that there was no alcohol.
“I decided to come out here because I’m a 90s kid,” Katz said. “I love experiencing the nostalgia of my childhood. It brings back many memories. I knew it would be a good time. The no booze thing wasn’t really a factor for me. I was here more so for the food, the experience and the fun.”
Daniel Israel is a junior in the School of Arts and Sciences. He is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.