Students to throw neon dance party for charity

The+Appalachian+Online

The Appalachian Online

Lovey Cooper

A group of students have organized a neon-themed glow paint DJ dance party this Saturday – only this time, it’s for charity.

As a main project for a non-profit management class, a group of four women from varying majors has put together a ticketed party at Legends, complete with body paint, raffles, live art and music to benefit the Hospitality House of Boone.

Channeling the past successes of local events like High Country Bass and the Boonetown Throwdown, the group intended to market their event to younger students who might not have many places to dance before their 21st birthdays.

DJ Conglow, otherwise known as junior communication studies major Gregg Kaluza, will MC the evening, and was chosen partially because of his involvement in some mini-raves on Sanford Mall and other events that have been successful in the past, but also for his inspirational and energetic public speaking.

Organizer Allison Crook, a senior global studies and Spanish double major, said she hopes this event can be used to reach students who might not have otherwise heard of the Hospitality House, a non-profit crisis agency that focuses on shelter and rehabilitation of those in need in the High Country.

The organization’s unique and effective approach to homelessness inspired all of the class members to team up on the effort to raise money and market the non-profit to the university, separate from their existing community outreach effort.

“I think that it really changes people’s perceptions about those dealing with crises and homelessness, and it puts a face to that issue that people aren’t used to seeing,” said organizer Rebecca Ewing, a junior sustainable development major.

Shady Kimzey, a senior public relations major, wanted to get involved also as an opportunity to work with Todd Carter, who is director of development at the Hospitality House.

“Todd is a really incredible fundraiser who has done a lot of events and has really revitalized a lot of things about the hospitality house and made a lot of things amazing there,” Kimzey said.

The entire class presents students with this same hands-on approach to planning and marketing. The groups are graded based on their efforts, rather than their fundraising – although this group has made sure that all up-front costs of the event have already been covered by sponsorship.

“Every single penny that we raise at the event and through ticket sales goes straight to the Hospitality House,” said public relations major Makayla White.

The event is focused on promoting the 365 Project, a side-campaign of the Hospitality House centered on the concept of donating $1 a day, which they say pays for one night of sleep, three meals and all services for 10 people in the shelter.

“As the year goes on, people go home for the summer, or it’s nice outside, so people pay less attention to who has to sleep outside,” Crook said. “This project keeps it going throughout the year – it’s not just Christmas time that people are in need.”

The event was originally scheduled to take place at a new venue called The Uptown, but issues with construction forced the group to relocate to Whitewater Lounge in Plemmons Student Union.

“I’ll be excited about it and proud of it no matter how it goes,” White said. “Not only have I learned so much about fundraising events and going with the flow – when you get called the week before and you have to find a new venue – but at the end of the day it’s going to raise awareness of the Hospitality House, and it’s going to bring the student population closer to that in Boone.”

The House Party takes place this Saturday at 9 p.m. at the Whitewater Lounge in Plemmons Student Union. Tickets are $12 and include a bottle of water and colored neon body paint.

Story: Lovey Cooper, Senior A&E Reporter