Weekend activities for those under 21

Allison Suesse

For those not of age, an ID stating you are 21 years old seems to be the golden ticket to weekend fun. Most freshman at Iowa State are underage and overexcited about the weekend possibilities that await them at college. While the bars can be a fun way to spend time on the weekend, there are alternatives for those who are shy of the legal drinking age.

Events at the Memorial Union

Student Union Board, or SUB, hosts a wealth of events throughout the school year at the Memorial Union. The board hosts comedians, movie nights, bands and lectures. Most of these events are free for students, and are Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Students who aren’t 21 can attend these events as an alternative to imbibing.

“We really like providing alcohol-free alternatives because it showcases that you can have fun doing something that doesn’t involve alcohol,” said Connor Nolan, 2010-2011 SUB special events director.

Annually, SUB hosts events including Grandma Mojo’s Moonshine Revival, a student comedy troupe that puts on improv comedy performances monthly.

Another regular feature on the SUB calendar is free movie nights, which features new and popular films.

The lineup of special events SUB hosts varies each year. In November, 2010, SUB hosted web celebrity Bo Burnham’s comedy show, and magician/comedian Derrick Hughes.

In fall 2011, SUB will utilize funds allocated by Government of the Student Body to host concerts featuring big-name national entertainment, Nolan said.

These events draw about 300 to 500 students.

Madison Davis, freshman in kinesiology and health, attended an ISUAfterDark event and said she’d never done anything like that before.

“You’re still laughing and having a good time,” Davis said.

The Memorial Union is also home to one of Ames’ most popular concert venues, the M-Shop. Each month, the M-Shop hosts bands and artists from a wide variety of genres. Popular acts to stop by the M-Shop were Ingram Hill and Menomona.

Hang out in the dorms

The dorms are one of the best places on campus to meet new friends. Dorm-mates live in close proximity, and are experiencing the same transition from high school to college, so they’re also a great support system.

“It’s really easy to get involved and meet people on your floor,” Davis said.

If you’re not 21, spend time with dorm friends by organizing movie or game nights. Cards and pizza in the common area is a popular choice for a fun and easy-going night in the dorm.

“I know a lot of people who have game nights with friends,” said Kristin Polchow, freshman in chemistry.

Game nights in the dorm can be an alternative to drinking, or a fun activity for one of those much-needed nights of relaxation.

Find a house party

College is the first time of your life when you’re completely on your own to make your own decisions. While there are many students on campus who chose to abstain from alcohol consumption, the fact is that, nationally, 83.9 percent of college students consumed alcohol in the past year, according to research completed by the Core Institute.

With alcohol being as prevalent as it is on college campuses, some freshman will undoubtedly want to be a part of the culture. However, keep in mind Iowa State has a strict policy that states “possession and consumption of alcoholic beverages is permitted in university housing according to the policies established by the Department of Residence and only for those persons having attained drinking age as stipulated in the laws of the state of Iowa.”

If you feel compelled to drink underage, many students find off-campus house or apartment parties.

“I know a lot of people who have apartments in west Ames or at Cyclone Plaza or Legacy,” Polchow said.

While off-campus parties are popular for students of all ages, remember that the Ames Police Department consistently monitors areas near campus where students congregate for weekend activities.