By Cassandra Castillo, Assistant Features Editor—
Headphone Disco was a newly introduced homecoming event that took place in the University Center Tennessee Room on Oct. 22 as one of the events that would remain solely in-person.
The Homecoming Steering Committee had to plan for in-person and virtual events to bring the student body together while still taking safety precautions. Bingo Night and Headphone Disco were new additions this year. These events had several sessions taking place in one day to make sure that every student that wanted to participate was able. Headphone disco was held in two sessions, with one beginning at 8 p.m. and the other at 9:30 p.m. The later time had more people in attendance.
Headphone Disco required students to pre-register before attending to make sure that social distancing could take place, much like the one that took place during Welcome Week. The room’s floor was marked with colored dots to ensure that participants stayed in that designated area.
The Assistant Director for Student Engagement Laura Petrus asked students to RSVP due to the limited space.
“In some of the in-person events, because we have limited space, we ask students to pre-register,” she said. “We can sometimes take walk-ins, it just depends. Walk-in space is not guaranteed.”
Two DJs were in attendance in each session, and students were able to choose which one to listen to. The headphones provided by the university have a setting that changes the channel on the audio channel. One DJ’s music was represented by red light displays, and the other by blue.
Coordinator for Student Engagement Taylor Asgard said it was important that they continue to do homecoming events this year despite the pandemic. However, she also said that she is conscious of guidelines that need to be followed.
“We provide the headphones, we wipe them down before the event and we wipe them down every time someone returns them,” Asgard said.
Senior Allen Towry was part of the committee that planned the event. He helped coordinate the one during Welcome Week and was excited to do it again for homecoming due to the success of the first disco that took place on Chamberlain Field. He credits the good turnout to how different it is to other events.
“We wanted to give the students a really fun atmosphere, but also keep it with COVID, just with the possibility to social distance and being able to sanitize everything in between, and it just kind of played out really well,” Towry said. “I’m really excited. You wouldn’t think it’s fun, but it’s really fun with also knowing what channels the other students are listening to. It’s all about the dance moves!”
For those who have not yet participated in homecoming week, the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga still has events scheduled through the weekend, including the watch party for the football game that starts at 3 p.m. on Saturday. See the official UTC Homecoming 2020 schedule for more.