There was just one change to the usual ingredients for a great night out at last Friday’s dance event on campus: the music was pumped directly into the ears of the dancers rather than out loud through a speaker.
That’s right, under the typical dark setting lit with multicolored flashing lights, Saint Mary’s students got their groove thing on using over-the-ear Bluetooth headphones to listen to a wide selection of popular dance and EDM remixed music in the Toner Student Center dining hall.
Three hundred pairs of the headphones were provided by the Student Activities Committee to hand out to students at the door along with complimentary glow sticks. The headphones allowed students to control the volume of the music and switch their song selection between two different DJs.
“I think people are bonding over when they switch between DJs and they figure out that their friends are listening to the same DJ,” said hall director and Saint Mary’s graduate student Maddie Kettner. “It’s really funny when you don’t have your headphones on and you listen to the people who are singing along to the songs. Some of them are really good and some of them are really not, but they’re all having a good time!”
While some students expressed apprehension to venture into what they thought might be a silent room full of dancing, the atmosphere turned out to be anything but quiet during the four-hour event. If ever the headphones did come off, the room was filled with sounds of students singing, clapping, cheering, and laughing as their DJ gave them cues.
Students dance and sing along to music in their headphones
Video by Sami Johnston
“It’s really, really fun!” said junior Darvell Jones as he bobbed around with one ear still covered by his headphones. “I think it’s something really different and fresh to do on campus, and there’s a nice diversity [in music selection] between the stations.”
Dubbed the “Headphone Disco” by its creator, hall director and graduate student Alex Johnson, there is the prospect that the concept will be reintroduced to campus in the future.
“We had a turnout of about 200 people,” Johnson said. “I think we will probably do it again in the future. It would be cool to do outside under the stars when it’s warm.”