Those who planned the Harvest Extravaganza took a risk with a Silent Disco, but the fall celebration far surpassed expectations on a night that students didn’t want to end.  

First year APU students and their Alpha leaders danced the evening away in their Halloween costumes during the Harvest Extravaganza. Taking place on Friday, Oct 28 on Trinity Lawn, the Fall celebration included a pumpkin patch, pumpkin painting, a carving contest, trunk-or-treat and a silent disco. 

The silent disco was easily the highlight. It continuously drew in crowds to the point where the event, which was only supposed to run until 5-7pm, ran until 7:30. It felt like the party was just getting started when the Alpha coordinators had to shut down the fun. 

What exactly is a silent disco? Silent discos have been around for years, but are quickly growing in popularity. No, these discos are not a 70s themed dance party where everyone has to stay silent. Instead, at these discos each participant has their own set of headphones where they can control the volume of the music and what DJ station they listen to. 

At the Harvest Extravaganza, there were three stations, meaning at any time students could choose between three songs. Each station was represented by a different color on the headphones. For example, the Disney station made the headphones glow green while the other two glowed red or blue which allowed others to see if they were listening to the same song. 

Photo courtesy of Morgan Faranov

Junior Kaitlin Thayer, an alpha coordinator who helped to put on the event, didn’t expect the disco to be as enjoyable as it was. She soaked in every moment as she spun around in her cowgirl boots. 

“We [the alpha coordinators] just wanted something funky and fun. We didn’t know how the silent disco was going to go but it seems to be so fun. I just didn’t expect it to be so fun!” she said.

Sophomore transfer student Lauren Stroll, before she put on her disco headphones, thought the idea was silly and goofy. She quickly felt differently. Stoll said, “It’s rockin. Frozen is playing now [in her disco headphones]. It’s making me so happy. Slay-PU!” 

Photo courtesy of Morgan Faranov

Senior alpha leader, Justin Skidmore wasn’t sure how he felt about the disco concept. “It’s a little bit odd, I won’t lie, not really knowing what other people are listening to … I’m a little nervous to dance,” he said. 

It’s true that being on different stations presented some awkward situations. Nothing felt worse than dramatically throwing your hands up during Miley Cyrus’s “Party in the U.S.A” thinking everyone is still doing the same, only to realize they’ve moved onto “Stacy’s Mom.” However, it was a unique phenomena to see students embrace grooving out to different songs, and it was a special scene when the masses landed on the same song — especially during the “Cha Cha Slide.” 

Freshman Blake Gustafson said, “The vibes are just perfect.” The atmosphere was certainly charming as Gustafson painted a detailed Halloween scene while Colbie Callet’s “Brighter Than the Sun” played on the loudspeaker. Around her, care-free boys threw their pumpkins back and forth. Next to her, friends gathered at a long table while painting pumpkins and bopping to the music in their headphones. 

Sophomore Ashley Martin painted a portrait of her friends Lauren Stroll, Ethan Robinson and Sam Edinger who were all painting pumpkins of their own. For Stroll, Martin’s pumpkin captured the essence of Fall. “Fall represents to me love and family,” she said. 

Photo courtesy of Morgan Faranov

While carving a scene from “Alice in Wonderland,” senior Justin Skidmore reflected on how this event emphasized the community of the APU family, particularly the special relationship Alpha leaders share with their Alphies (first year students). “My Alphies hung out and took pictures and listened to some music. It’s cool to get to know them and share everything that I’ve learned in my four years here and to let them know they aren’t alone in what they go through,” he said.

Months of planning went into the Harvest Extravaganza. Senior Alpha intern Erika Litson expressed that campus life tries to have an event for the Alpha leaders and their Alphies every fall, but that this is their first larger fall event in a while due to Covid. She was thrilled to see the hard work pay off. “It’s really exciting. The more people that show up the more excited I get,” Litson said. 

Kaitlin Thayar credits APU for helping the lofty vision come to life. She’s grateful that because of all of the help, students had a safe place on a Friday night during Halloween weekend to celebrate the holiday. 

And celebrate they did. Around 7:30 p.m., attendees were surprised when all three stations began to play the YMCA. The disappointment of realizing the night was concluding faded as a large circle gathered around, doing the motions to the classic dance. It was as if everyone was in their own world in their headphones while simultaneously being immersed in community. 

Photo courtesy of Morgan Faranov

After the success of the Harvest Extravaganza, students are already hoping for more Alpha and Alphie events. Freshman Liza Meyer said, “Fall is like a pre party to Christmas, so I’m excited for it. I really hope there are more silent discos during Christmas time. For now, all that is planned for December is a banquet for the Alpha leaders. 

While events are waiting to be planned and revealed, students can anticipate other upcoming Campus Life events. This Friday, Nov 4, there will be a semi-formal dance with the theme, “Into the Galaxy.” Students can find more information and buy tickets on APU Campus Life’s instagram’s bio