University of Calgary

Students bust their dance moves, shop for deals at after-hours Target event

UToday HomeSeptember 6, 2013

By Meghan Jessiman

It's 10:33 p.m. and 1,528 University of Calgary students are lined up anxiously anticipating getting inside the first real social event of the school year. The scene pretty much looks like what you would find outside one of the more popular Stephen’s Avenue clubs on any given Saturday night, except of course, it’s a Wednesday and instead of a velvet rope and a bouncer, it’s the automatic doors of Market Mall’s Target location with their red and white bull’s-eye logos standing between the kids and the dance floor.

A few short moments past the scheduled 10:30 start, the sliding doors part, the crowd goes wild and students start piling into the store en masse. If you can imagine what an American Target store looks like just before they open for Black Friday, you have some understanding of how the university’s Target After Hours started. Just swap the anxiety and desperation of trying to score the best deal in town with the excitement and laughs that come along with a mob of new and returning students looking to have a good time.

The reasons people came out for this Orientation Week event are as varied as the faculties to which the students in attendance belong, but fun and, quite frankly, some bargain shopping, ranked high on most people’s priority lists.

“Honestly, we came for a bathmat,” admitted Sarah Adams, a second-year arts student who came to hit the aisles with friend Karli Gogol. The pair may have come for the toiletries, but they stayed for the party.

“I think it’s awesome that the school goes to the trouble of planning these kinds of events, especially for new students who have just arrived on campus and don’t have anything for their dorm rooms,” Gogol says. “It’s a great way to not only let kids that don’t have vehicles (U of C provided bus transportation to and from campus) get the supplies they need, but also to encourage a sense of community and start the year off on the right foot.”

Shopping carts were certainly being filled — and ridden in, in certain cases — but there were plenty of students in attendance who were more interested in a dance party vibe. “I heard there would be a twerking competition,” said 17-year-old Julia Schaefer, only half joking. While she and twin sister Kristina had no intention of channelling their inner Miley Cyrus at the event, they would have been more than happy to cheer competitors on should a dance-off occur. While this reporter didn’t witness any twerking first hand, I can say that DJ Don Juan did have the dance floor packed from the get-go. His Top-40 remixes were giving people all the motivation they needed to bust a move right there between the workout gear and the housewares (for future reference, all it seems to take is a little One Direction).

“Basically we heard that Target was opening especially for us late at night and that there would be a DJ,” the Schaefer sisters explained. “Who wouldn’t want to come and check that out? Isn’t it everyone’s dream to hang out at the mall after it’s closed?”

Whether the venue choice was responsible for fulfilling many a childhood dream or not is inconclusive, but one thing is clear: there ain’t no party like a U of C and Target party and the student body will be glad to shake their bodies at the mall again next year.

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