What has colorful lights, UM students and lots of plastic chips? UPC Casino Night was held on Thursday, Feb. 13, allowing students to walk from dinner in the caf to a night in Vegas in Anna Irvin.

The event was hosted in support of Higher Ed Day coming up on Thursday, Feb. 27, in hopes for more attendees. Higher Ed Day is a rally held in Montgomery to attain more financial aid for the school systems and students in the state of Alabama.

The event was made possible by UPC Coordinator Tanya Hoang, Higher Ed Day Coordinator Abigail Bradley, Student Life Director Jenny Bell and Party Train Entertainment, the hired workers who set up the machines and kept the night going for students.

Hoang described the event as “Gambling for more funding for public education.”

“Every year our school’s tuition goes up and I know, myself included, that a lot of students pay for themselves to go to school,” she said, “With that happening it gets harder and harder every year.”

Hoang continued, saying, “I am here purely based off scholarship and financial aid, so funding is actually a very important topic for me. I really believe that everyone else should be concerned because it affects them too.”

Many students showed up for the event, staking the tables and the slot machines continuously throughout the night. The atmosphere was fueled with laughter and sugar rushes due to the large amount of free candy offered to attendees. Students Stephen Bulger and Lynsey Leopard both said they enjoyed the night very much.

Bulger played all of the gambling choices offered, which consisted of Blackjack, Texas Hold ‘Em and slots, where he won most of his chips. Bulger said he believes that Higher Ed Day is a good thing and he definitely supports the cause because he too is a student funded by financial aid.

Students especially enjoyed the slot machines brought into Anna Irvin. / Photo by Charitina Goebel

Students especially enjoyed the slot machines brought into Anna Irvin. / Photo by Charitina Goebel

Leopard said that she had never played slots or Blackjack before but that it was loads of fun and a great experience. “I lost all of my ‘money’ on slots — every bit of it. But I actually won playing Blackjack. I loved Blackjack,” she said. Leopard concluded that she would go to Las Vegas “maybe for the food and experience but not to gamble.”

Leopard said she has already signed up to attend Higher Ed Day. She spoke of how she receives financial aid and said that “it’s a great idea and an awesome way for us to represent Montevallo and get support from the state.”

Hoang said that she was happy with the way Casino Night turned out and that the students who came would be able to spread the word about the Higher Ed Day rally.

Unfortunately, Hoang said she cannot attend Higher Ed Day this year, though she has attended before. But she did participate in Casino Night. Hoang admitted to loving the slot machines for their ease and cheap thrill.

“Maybe that’s just me being a very lazy person,” she joked. She does not play cards because she never learned how, but she did indulge in getting a souvenir.

The event produced only one new signature for Higher Ed Day, but Bradley said, “Overall, we have around 100 signed up currently,” Both Bradley and Hoang agreed the Casino Night event was a success. Hoang even learned something from her experience during Casino Night: “Now I know I should never gamble.”