The UW-Milwaukee Student Housing Administrative Council (SHAC) hosted a semi-annual carnival on the south lawn of Sandburg Resident Halls on Saturday afternoon to kick off the summer and to pull residents away from the nail-biting, zit-forming stress that finals bring.
The carnival started at noon and featured a DJ, food, games, and prizes. SHAC hosts one carnival for each semester. SHAC’ programs are funded by segregated fees from the residents’ housing fees. Michael Bugalski, the president of SHAC, said, “Each resident of University Housing pays a $19 per semester SHAC fee. That is given to us and we give it back to the residents in the form of programming.”
The carnival is a send-off for the residents from SHAC. “We always put it about a week before move out,” Bugalski said. “This is just kind of a really big event we like to put on for the residents. Kind of go out with a bang sort of. This is really SHAC’s last event of every year so we try and make it pretty much our biggest.”
According to Bugalski, the carnival has been an every-year event for about six years. They had more games last year, but fewer games were set up this semester due to the weather. The weather for the carnival on Saturday was overcast and the temperature was in the 40-50 degree range.
The carnival was SHAC’s way of distracting dorm residents from all of the increasing stress they are going through because of final exams. Free games and food right outside the residents’ door provided an easy way to escape from cramped dorm rooms to take a break.
Kenya Lee, next year’s Event Coordinator and President Summer Coordinator, said SHAC is “here to represent the residents and this is our big end of the year carnival…This is your stress reliever before you actually have to sit down and study.”
The carnival acted as a form of procrastination for Turner, though. He said, “I have a paper that I have to do for English that I probably should do, but I’ll probably put that off until Monday.”
Games and Activities
UW-Milwaukee’s Restaurant Operations donated the food for the event. Veggie dogs, snow cones, burgers, hot dogs, and popcorn were among the food items served at the carnival. Ryan Turner, a freshman Sandburg Halls resident, made an appearance at the carnival on Saturday and tried a veggie dog. “I got a veggie dog to see how that tastes,” Turner said, “and that tasted like rubber, so I threw it away.”
Turner said he was attracted to the carnival because of snow cones and the jousting game. He won a kite playing “the duck game.” Fish, bubbles, inflatable hammers and swords, and candy were given at the event among other small prizes.
The jousting is “basically like a big blow up house,” said Lee. “It has two platforms and each person stands on a platform and you have a big Q-tip, almost, and you try and knock the other person off.”
Human spears, laser tag, a Ping-Pong fish game, guess the gumball, bean bag toss, and ladder golf were all featured at the carnival as well. Human spears, as explained by Lee, are “like a human hamster ball. What happens is the person gets inside. We blow it up and they do a race around the track and see who wins.”
Dana Giandomenico, this year’s SHAC Event Coordinator, said “We make everyone sign waivers before they can go on anything,” although it has not been an issue in the past. It’s a precaution through the university that SHAC is required to take.
Bugalski said that the event coordinator does 95 percent of the work for the carnival. “They just kind of take the lead and give everyone else the jobs to do.”
“Well, first we need to set a date,” said Lee. “We go through a company called Music on the Move [link to http://www.musiconthemove.biz/]. Then we have to go through the UWM system to get contracts done, which takes like three months.” Music on the Move is a DJ company that was hired by SHAC for the carnival.
The SHAC event coordinators have worked on planning since January to decide which kind of games, food and prizes they wanted to include at this semester’s carnival. Lee chuckled and said that in addition, they also have to pray that their fish live and hope it doesn’t rain. Lee said that getting “volunteers is our biggest thing, [then] the DJ, advertisement, spreading the word. We start advertising like a month in advance.”
Other SHAC programs
In addition to the carnival, SHAC does a number of other activities for residents. Bugalski said, “Every semester we have a week called Sex Week designed for sexual education and safety. We also do the Spring Escape every year, and the Fall Carnival. We also do small programming like Bingo for Fish, and different little fun things like that.”