Students tear up the dance floor at the Mardi Gras celebration


Students at the mardi dance. Photo by Zileni Milupi

Zileni Milupi, Staff Reporter

Electronic dance music filled the SURC Ballroom on Feb. 25 as students hit the dance floor and enjoyed food at the Mardi Gras dance, hosted by Campus Activities.

Planning process

Law and justice sophomore Michelle Carrillo and clinical psychology senior Citlali Gonzales-Arroyo, the lead co-planners of the event, explained their organizing process. 

“We choose events every quarter based on what kind of programming we want to have and with that comes narrowing down what are things that are different that we want to try,” Gonzales-Arroyo said. 

Gonzales-Arroyo explained that one of the main goals of the event was to get students to have fun and enjoy themselves. 

“I think if Mardi Gras says anything, it’s fun, it’s a celebration, it’s a party,” Gonzales-Arroyo said. 

Carillo said the focus of events lies in the student body and their experiences.

“It’s a way to give students something to do and make new friends and meet new people,” Carillo said.

According to Gonzalez-Arroyo, understanding the historical aspects and the importance of Mardi Gras was a key element in planning the event.  

Gonzales-Arroyo explained that they didn’t include certain traditions like the coin-throwing due to safety concerns, but instead incorporated the cultural elements through the food and decorations. 

The menu included food items such as creole gumbo and sweet potato fries which, according to Gonzales-Arroyo, was CWU Catering’s decision to have the food traditionally tied to the event. Drinking options included mocktails courtesy of the Wellness Center.     

Carrillo and Gonzales-Arroyo said they hoped students had a good time. 

“I know for one of our DJs, this is the last time that he’s going to be performing here at [CWU] and I think that is super big,” Gonzales-Arroyo said. “I want people to experience him because he’s really good, and I’d love to see more students at campus events in general.”

The music 

The music at the dance, played by Electropolis DJ’s Matt Wiemals ‘Sp3rrow’ and Apollo, consisted of electronic dance music mixes. Electropolosis is an award-winning legacy show with multiple DJs featured on 88.1 the ‘Burg, led by Wiemals and Apollo. 

The event would be Wiemals’ first Mardi Gras performance and last big event at CWU after DJ-ing here for five years. 

Wiemals described his preparations leading up to the event, what he was excited about the most and his approach to the music selection. 

“The big thing for me whenever I play is the people, the energy,” Wiemals said. “On a day like Mardi Gras, the energy should be through the roof. It’s a day of celebration, it’s a party and so we’re going to try in any way we can with everything we have to create an experience with people and hopefully make that experience better.”

Regarding the setlist, Wiemals explained that the organizers of the event wanted to incorporate electropolis. During the event, Wielmals would pair two well-known songs in mashups, which got people dancing. 

The turnout at the event was lower than anticipated, which Wiemals had prepared for. Wiemals had different versions of the setlist which were dependent on the size of the crowd. 

“If it’s a smaller crowd, less people and they’re enjoying [themselves] or just hanging out, I’m not going to perform like I’m at a festival,” Wiemals said. “I’m going to perform like ‘hey, just get some people dancing, let’s have a good time.’”

Although the attendance was low, the people who did attend said they had a great time and enjoyed the food. 

“I think it’s so fun, it’s a party,”  junior elementary education major Annie Gatlin said.  

With positive responses came negative feedback, with a few attendees expressing some room for improvement. Junior elementary education major Julia Orr chose to share positive aspects of the event.

“Sp3rrow is here, he’s great,” Orr said. 

Another attendee, junior elementary education major Brooke Hageman, mentioned some details of the event that she particularly appreciated.

“I think that the polaroids are such a great inclusion, and I think that having food and a mocktail bar is a fantastic idea,” Hageman said.