Alpha Week returns for its fifth consecutive year Monday, Sept. 24 through Saturday, Sept. 29.
The events kick off Monday with “Wrap It Up Then,” an HIV/AIDs prevention education seminar. Students will also have the opportunity to receive free HIV screening tests in a truck parked outside the Student Union from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Free food will also be available.
Tuesday features “Chicago Card Revoked,” which will pit Chicago-area students against each other to prove their allegiance to the city.
Aaron Boyd, a junior studying criminal justice, is starting his first year as president of Alpha Phi Alpha.
Boyd, himself a Chicago native, describes the game as West Side versus South Side or Chicago versus the Suburbs. “We just want to test, ‘How Chicago are you?’” he said. “Do you know historical facts? Do you know the slang of Chicago? Do you know famous restaurants—stuff like that.” Attendees will receive Chicago-style goodie bags with snacks and candies famous at corner stores, according to Boyd. On Wednesday, a fundraiser will held a Pizza Ranch, about two miles northeast of campus.
Alpha Phi Alpha will earn 15 percent of every meal purchased from 4:45 pm. to 8 p.m.“Trap and Paint” takes place Thursday. This play on “Sip and Paint” parties, where people usually drink wine while painting, will feature trap music and a dance party in addition to an Alpha Phi Alpha alumnus instructing students through their art projects.
Boyd says he’s most excited for Friday, when his organization will be screening “Incredibles 2” in the Quad at 9 p.m. Alpha Phi Alpha invites students to pull out their blankets and lawn chairs to marvel at the big screen and enjoy complimentary popcorn and cotton candy.
“We feel like this event is probably the most important,” Boyd said. “It’s definitely the most costly event. But secondly, it brings in a lot of diversity. ‘Incredibles’ is a movie that can cover all cultures, all ethnicity groups and all ages.”
Alpha Week events were planned in collaboration with the Student Union and the Diversity Center. According to Boyd, this partnership has been crucial is making sure the word gets out to students. The week winds down with Saturday’s semi-annual party, called “Y Xi Taught Me.”
Boyd says his organization expects a large turnout from other universities, including Illinois State University, Southern Illinois University, Lincoln Land Community College and other institutions near St. Louis.
According to Boyd, this event is one of the best chances to create an experience for the campus, especially considering how young the school is compared to other Illinois colleges and how recently Greek life started up here. “We’re the first big fraternity that got started–about five years ago,” Boyd said. “So we feel like it’s almost an obligation for us to make sure students have a good time.”
The party, which runs from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., is free to attend and will feature a DJ.
According to Boyd, the largest obstacle in organizing the upcoming Alpha Week was coordinating schedules between Alpha Phi Alpha’s current five members and the partnering university departments, as well as figuring out how to raise funds.
However, he says the lessons he learned this fall will carry over into planning the spring Alpha Week events. “It’s challenging, but I feel like the challenges are worth it in the long run,” Boyd said. “It’s going to help me know how to navigate things next time we do Alpha Week in the spring.