Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern

Northwestern University and Evanston's Only Daily News Source Since 1881

The Daily Northwestern


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NU Nights Game Gala provides students with a substance-free Friday evening activity

Students+enjoyed+a+round+of+Mahjong+at+Game+Gala+as+they+snacked+on+charcuterie+and+Italian+soda.
Kelley Lu/The Daily Northwestern
Students enjoyed a round of Mahjong at Game Gala as they snacked on charcuterie and Italian soda.

With charcuterie and Italian sodas in hand, some Northwestern students spent their Friday night enjoying various tabletop games.

Every Friday, NU Nights provides students with an option to spend a substance-free evening with friends. Communication junior Efren Ponce, NU Nights’ president, said Game Gala mimicked a glitzy Vegas night with flashing lights, mahjong and card games for students to enjoy.

“The idea came about because we wanted to do a poker night — a casino night — but poker is against the student handbook,” Ponce said. “We had to pivot, so it became sort of this like casino Vegas, gala vibes but with just regular card games and board games.”

NU Nights provides students with substance-free events on weekends. Previous activities ranged from “Smocks & Mocks,” a mocktail-making and painting event, to self-defense classes.

Weinberg sophomore Belen Edgar, NU Nights’ vice president of membership, said NU Nights tries to plan a diverse selection of events to cater to students’ various interests.

“Even though we promote substance-free events, we just want people to have fun,” Edgar said. “We want people to have an option for stuff to do on late nights.”

Edgar and Ponce both said they joined NU Nights, and later the executive board, because of the community they built attending the events. They said they have participated since their freshman years and have contributed to planning for NU Nights since.

Ponce said he hopes that people continue to see NU Nights events as a casual option on a Friday night to meet new people and have fun.

“The most rewarding part is just having people connect at events and also just being able to offer folks an option to spend their Friday night, because I know some people just like to spend it in their dorm doing nothing,” Ponce said.

Some students said their previous experiences with NU Nights inspired them to try out Game Gala. Many brought their friends along, and others made new friends at the event.

Medill freshman Mia Schmitt said after attending NU Nights’ self-defense class, she wanted to attend another event. Schmitt and a friend enjoyed some friendly competition while playing Bananagrams.

Weinberg freshman Mingyuan Wang participated in an intense round of mahjong with friends during the Game Gala. He said he’s been to a few NU Nights events and decided to come back for the food and the people.

“I still know people that I can say ‘Hi’ to when I see them,” Wang said.

 One of NU Nights upcoming events include an open mic night in collaboration with the Songwriters Association at Northwestern.

Email: [email protected] 

X: @kelleylu_

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