Silence at the Disco?


Emerson Mane Events

Students gathered in the SPC and Black Box Theater for a silent disco hosted by Emerson Mane Events.

By Mikaiah De La Cruz, Correspondent

Flashing lights, goofy caricatures, and dancing to a song no one but you can hear: Emerson Mane Events hosted a decades-themed silent disco event on March 31 in the SPC that was meant to foster community at Emerson through free food and karaoke. 

The concept of a silent disco, in which participants wear headphones equipped with different genres of music, was invented in 2002. This format allows each user to control the station, song, and volume at which they’re listening.

I thought it would be better for people’s ears, especially since a lot of kids mess up their ears in their younger years because they go to these clubs and the music is way too loud,” first-year political communications major Taylor Wartley said. She said many people prefer attending silent discos over going to a club and drowning in the music, which could be why so many clubs and events opt for this experience. 

Two of the hosts with Emerson Mane, sophomore business of creative enterprises major Lauren Wantland and sophomore theater and performance major David Schell, coordinated this disco as part of the organization’s commitment to monthly community engagement events.

“We start out [thinking], what do we want to do?” Schell said. They considered themes and events associated with upcoming months, and then narrowed it down. 

Hosting such a large event has many moving parts, which makes it important to have relationships with various groups on campus. 

“We’ve got a lot of long-standing connections with a lot of different aspects of Emerson,” Schell said. 

Although this specific event wasn’t collaborative with another organization, as previous events have been, Schell spoke on the importance of working with catering companies, campus centers, and student organizations, and how this has aided them in hosting the silent disco. 

No matter the size or success of the event, producing an event of this scale was bound to evoke obstacles. Making space for a karaoke room entailed facing some operational difficulties. Wantland said they had trouble staying in contact with the DJs, encountered lighting problems, and initially wanted a photo booth, but they consequently scrapped the idea due to too many mechanical complications and issues with the lighting.

“We twisted our idea a little bit,” Wantland said.

Despite the adjustments required to host the event, Emerson Mane always maintained sight of the event’s purpose—bringing the community closer together.

“There’s always a few hiccups that we have to say, ‘Let’s figure out how we can work with this,’” Schell said.

Producing free events for students to have a fun, safe alternative to going out in the city is important, Schell said. Creating spaces for students to connect and have fun, especially with the pressures of college life is crucial.

“There [are] not that [many] in-person things besides the meetings we have for [Gauge Magazine and Your Mag],” first-year creative writing major Ensor Stull said about his involvement with campus organizations and events. “This is one of the first things I’ve done at the school just for fun. I’m having a much better time in comparison to things like the Mental Health Awareness Week activity that we had. I’m just having a better time here.” 

While some students said it was a fun event that brought joy to attendees, many noted the relatively low turnout, which could be due to how the event was marketed. 

Stull heard about the silent disco through posters around campus, and although he would love to come back, he attributes his hesitancy to the low attendance of the event. Within the first hour of the disco, there were only four people on the dance floor, everyone else opting for the karaoke room, so attending an event that involves dancing would require an assurance that “there will be more people,” Stull said.

Wartley heard about the event through a friend, and said the reason for the small crowd was because it needed to be advertised better. 

“I feel like this would be fun for everybody, and people at our school like [events] like this,” Wartley said. “They like opportunities to get dressed and do disco and stuff like that.”

It’s been hinted that Emerson Mane has another event lined up for May, collaborating with the class of 2025.

“We’ve been thinking about it, but it’s big,” Wantland said.

No matter the number of people on the dance floor, or the different obstacles Emerson Mane combatted, it wasn’t just another disco. The karaoke room was the star of the night, never once depriving the Little Building basement of harmonious voices and laughter. 

“We’re trying to uplift other groups as well,” Schell said. “It’s a community effort.”