UIS has been on a mission to keep students on campus. Matt Dobill, a legal studies major, explained that Late Night Stars wants to keep students from making poor choices. “We try to keep students away from underage drinking and unfit situations. We really try to provide an alternative so students can hang out and have fun,” Dobill said.
On Friday, Student Affairs’ Late Night Stars Event brought together a broad section of students and Springfield residents. As part of the safe, alternative programming, Late Night featured a Queer Straight Alliance (QSA) Drag Show with Shangela from Rupual’s Drag Race, Mocktails, Free Flu Shots, and even Laser Tag.
Will Nesbit, a sophomore in political science, said it’s a good event to bring his friends together in a positive environment. “It’s something to do, bring your friends together, because sometimes you don’t have a lot to do on a weekend night,” Nesbit said.
As silver plates full of bacon, chocolate fountains, and bananas lined the wall to feed hungry students, Matithia Eieland, a senior biology major, described the event and unique combination of food. “The bacon was pretty good, and the chocolate was pretty interesting. It was worth a try; I enjoyed the free flu shot more,” Eieland said.
Other students were more interested in seeing QSA’s Third Annual Drag Show, which featured five drag queens, the UIS Legacy Dance Team, and Dancing Stars. Men and women performed their favorite routines in the darkly lit gym. In the middle of every performance, audience members would head to the center stage and tip the drag performers with single dollar bills. Ceduxion Carrington performed a cabaret style version of Alicia Keys’ “No One,” while J.Estellado Knight performed, Nelly’s “Country Grammar.” Katrina Salavdor laughed with friends and only cared about Shangela’s performance, “There’s this one big person, I don’t know that person’s name. All I know that person’s really good.”
As the buzz about Shangela grew loud, Will Kipp, a liberal studies major and student involved with QSA, explained that the Student Committees Activity decided to bring Shangela in to perform. “They went to a conference and saw a table for Divas of Diversity. SAC provided a great majority of the money to bring Shangela in. We’re very grateful for the school and student activities for helping us out with this,” Kipp said.
QSA also wanted to bring students together to have fun and educate them on the gender issue. “We started doing this as a way to promote queer straight alliance,” Kipp said. “We wanted to let people know we’re on campus. We wanted to let people know what an ally means; they are a friend to the community. They are our biggest supporters in the heterosexual community.”
There was no resistance from the community; Springfield residents seemed to encourage the diverse show. “As far as this event, we just want people to have fun and explore what our community is,” Kipp said.