Pack your bags for Inspiration

Girls just wanna have fun.

Or at least that’s what four Northwestern women were thinking Thursday night at the end of Suitcase Party, when each won two tickets for a vacation.

Caroline Halverstam left for Orlando, Fla., about one hour after winning the trip.

“At first I thought I wouldn’t want to leave tonight,” said Halverstam, a Weinberg sophomore. “But then I realized, ‘What the hell do I have to do this weekend instead?'”

Halverstam said she planned to take her roommate with her. “I don’t know what she’s going to do when I tell her,” she said.

About 2,000 students danced to Leah Galyean Band, Jimmy Sutton’s Four Charms, and Sweet, Sweet Candy at this year’s Suitcase Party at Patten Gym. The philanthropy raised $23,200 for Inspiration Cafe, a resource and research center for the homeless in Chicago.

In addition to Halverstam’s win, Heather Wade won a vacation to Atlanta, Sarah Newberry won a trip to Boston and Robin Roach is going to the Caribbean. The winners opened suitcases to find Mickey Mouse ears, a sun visor, a derby hat and a tea-party hat to tip them off to their respective destinations.

Newberry said she was confident she’d leave Patten a winner.

“I woke up this morning and I knew I was going to win,” Newberry said. “I’ve been telling my friends all day that I was going on vacation.”

The money raised by students will go toward providing food and case management for the program, said Christopher Persons, executive director of Inspiration Cafe.

“Northwestern students have brought so much to our organization,” he said before Suitcase Party members presented him with the check. “They’ve volunteered their time, given us plenty of ideas and are donating so much money.”

Laurie Jaeckel, a Weinberg freshman, said Suitcase Party committee members worked hard to incorporate the atmosphere of the cafe in its decorations.

The symbols of Inspiration Cafe — a heart, a mug and silverware — plastered the walls of Patten, and red-and-white checkered tablecloths gave the gym a diner feel.

“I don’t believe this night finally came,” said Marisa Szelag, publicity co-chairwoman. “Tonight is the night that everyone waits for.”

Suitcase Party co-chairman Scott Curcio attributed the event’s success to the hard work from everyone involved.

“We have taken leaps and bounds since last year,” said Curcio, a Medill senior. “The bands are kicking and people are just having a good time tonight.”

They also had a few laughs watching Xelena Gonzalez pie Hilary Zalar, Associated Student Government’s executive vice president. Gonzalez is The Daily’s Thursday columnist.

“The people involved with Suitcase Party embody so much enthusiasm,” said prizes co-chairman Tyler Milfeld. “Helping with the philanthropy has been my best experience at Northwestern so far.”