Late-Night Hot Spot

By Matt Hawkins
January 23, 2014

Five years after Bradley staff and volunteers organized a series of late-night events, Late Night BU has established itself as a “can’t miss” tradition. The tradition will continue with Friday night’s spring semester LNBU kickoff in the Markin Center.

LNBU now draws about 1,200 students to each event, which represents 20 percent of the student body. Attendance has increased each year since its 2008-09 inception, with Welcome Weekend events the past two years topping the 2,000 attendance mark.

As a result, LNBU is a prominent part of Bradley campus culture.

“Students are so eager to have that tradition, a central place on campus to see friends and meet new people that it took off,” said Lyndsey Hawkins, interim director of wellness. “LNBU has built community on campus. We didn’t expect it to have that effect, but it’s huge.”

LNBU organizers — a committee of students supervised by a handful of staff — plan nine events each semester. A range of campus clubs and organizations have been featured as events have included crafts, an interactive rock concert, a fake horse race Race for the Cure fundraiser, live monkeys and carriage rides. Crafts, video games, photos and food have become LNBU staples.

This variety enables LNBU to reach interests across the student body.

“It’s a positive event for everyone,” said event coordinator Michael Miller ‘14. “You see people come in groups, by themselves or in pairs. It’s being interactive with others on campus and it gives different people a chance to be in the spotlight and clubs different chances to take off.”

LNBU also developed close ties with Peoria-area vendors who provide food, inflatable games and other activities.

“It’s a way for the campus to come together and the community to come together with the campus,” Miller said.

As another asset, LNBU’s student organizers learn professional skills that will be beneficial for event planning, marketing and communications-related jobs.

“It’s great to work with students who take responsibility for themselves and are accountable,” Miller, a sports communication major, said. “That’s the real work feeling. Everybody is accountable, on hand and ready to help.”

LNBU staff eye the future with hopes to continue the program’s growth. New events, new locations and off-campus events are possibilities as new staffers bring new ideas each year.

“We want to make sure we’re growing any way we can,” Miller said. “The brand now exists as part of the university. People have expectations and it’s growing because we’re trying to raise the bar as we try to find new things exciting.”