On Saturday, March 9, St. Olaf students braved the newly fallen slush from the recent Minnesota snowstorm in their finest dresses, suits and heels to attend the annual Casino Night.

This fan-favorite event was hosted by Inter-Hall Council (IHC) who provided snacks including popcorn, cake and puppy chow in the Buntrock ballrooms. The ballrooms were decorated with tables covered with black tablecloths and cards hung from the ceiling.

Upbeat music filled the ballrooms as students played Bingo, Texas Hold ‘Em and Blackjack, where student volunteers acted as dealers. Aesthetically, the set-up was very pleasing and Inter-Hall Council did a wonderful job creating the atmosphere for this event.

However, compared to previous years, this event was highly disappointing. My group and I arrived at 9 p.m. and were greeted with a long line wrapping around the upper floor of Buntrock.

We were told there would be about an hour long wait, as they had run out of playing chips and were in the process of finding more piles of chips. After waiting in line, we finally got into the ballrooms but were unable to find a table. We held our chips and waited for a table for about 30 minutes, until we gave up. We pooled all our un-played chips in the roulette game in the center of the room and left after playing two rounds to use up our chips.

Melanie Nevins ’20 had a similar experience.

“The line was too long to get in and you couldn’t get into a table anywhere.” Nevins said. “So we turned in all of our chips for tickets without playing and left after 10 minutes.”

As Mohn Hall’s President last year, Nevins was a member of IHC and helped run last year’s Casino Night. She believes a few big differences made the event ran smoother last year.

First, IHC members pre-made more stacks of chips to speed up the entry line, whereas this year, they ran out of pre-made stacks very quickly. This is what promoted the long line, as IHC members were making stacks one-by-one. They also had more people changing chips for tickets than this year’s group, making that process very slow. Finally, Nevins remembers last years’ prizes to be much smaller, so that more players could win prizes.

Despite the disappointing aspects of the event, the organizers of the event deserve a round of applause. The way they handled the glitches was very professional – they consistently had a positive attitude. When we finally made it up to the table at the entryway, they student organizers were upbeat, despite the frustrated attitudes of the students. It was obvious they were working hard to try to make the event better, acknowledging the now unavoidable issues of the event. Additionally, the event was well-decorated and classy, and a fun way to escape the snow.

Overall, Casino Night could have been improved by taking a few tips from last year’s IHC group. Flaws aside, however, Casino Night had the potential to be a wonderful event – IHC’s hard work should be acknowledged.

anders43@stolaf.edu