Channeling the Essence of Las Vegas in Wooster

Image of the Elvis impersonator who made a guest appearance at WAC’s Viva Las Vegas Casino Night. Image courtesy of Elizabeth Heatwole.
Elizabeth Heatwole, Contributing Writer

Providing Wooster students with friendly competition in the form of classic casino games, Wooster Activities Crew (WAC) presented Viva Las Vegas Casino Night this past weekend on Jan. 28. Hosted in Knowlton Commons, overlooking a campus softly illuminated by streetlamps, Casino Night provided an element of festivity to an otherwise routine Saturday evening.

Following an ascent up a staircase wrapped in casino-themed decorations, guests were greeted by a red and black balloon arch upon entering the Commons. In true casino style, participants were given the option to don formalwear for the event, and many used the evening as an excuse to “dress to the nines.” Classic black suits and embellished dresses swirled around the floor to the gentle clip of heeled shoes against tile flooring, as students moved from game to game and conversed with friends. Centrally located, long tables of food boasted upscale offerings, ranging from macaroons and charcuterie boards to mocktails. Elaborating on food options, WAC president, Ellen McAllister ’24, said, “We used campus dining this year. We try to keep dietary restrictions in mind when choosing food as we want everyone to enjoy our event!”

Further adding to the glamor of the evening, the College was paid a visit by the King of Rock and Roll through the appearance of an Elvis impersonator. The singer serenaded guests with timeless hits such as “Suspicious Minds,” “Viva Las Vegas” and “Love Me Tender,” while dressed in a white jumpsuit adorned with amber-colored rhinestones. WAC’s goal for the evening, channeling the essence of Vegas, was summarized in the inclusion of the Elvis impersonator. Articulating the background behind the decision, McAllister said, “Elvis got in the mix and we…knew it would be great for Casino Night.” 

Interim President Wayne Webster and Director of Campus Dining Services Marjorie Shamp among others, donated their time to act as dealers for the range of classic casino games. “This is the second year that I was asked to be a dealer for Casino Night, and I really enjoy engaging with the students this way,” said Shamp. Texas hold’em, blackjack, roulette and other games provided a night of fun and risk for participants, who traveled throughout the second floor of Knowlton casting bets. 

Touching on why he chose to attend Casino Night, Nathan Budge ’26 replied, “I chose to go because it was a social event.” As the night came to a close, poker chips were exchanged for raffle tickets. Players entered drawings for prizes in the hopes of winning an iPad, projector, Keurig, record player or other technology-related item. 

Asked about the inspiration behind Casino Night, McAllister said, “We started Casino Night last year. WAC used to host a Winter Gala every year, but over time, things evolve and change, so we wanted to try something different. WAC wanted something where students still had the opportunity to dress up and hang out with their friends, but wasn’t a ‘dance’ in the traditional sense. So, Casino Night was born!” 

Commenting on the large undertaking of transforming Knowlton into a space boasting casino flair, McAllister stated that the goal was “glitz, glam and elegance,” which was achieved after numerous hours of set-up. The product of months of organizing and logistics swept attendees away from a casual college Saturday, transporting them to Vegas for a few hours of wild nightlife. The night proved to be a success, as Knowlton Commons was transformed into a hub of energy, with participants embracing the high-spirited mood that filled the air.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: