(From The Campus Lantern – November 19th, 2015)
The 20th annual C.O.P.S. Open Rec Night is scheduled for Friday, December 4th this year. The event, which is held from 9:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m., will take place at the Sports Center. It serves as a fun alternative event instead of students going to parties or drinking off campus. There are giveaways every hour that include LCD televisions, iPads, iPods, and game systems. At the event, there is also music, sports, massages, games, and food such as burgers, pizzas, and sandwiches.
One of the main purposes of the event, other than to serve as a form of entertainment for the Eastern community that doesn’t include drugs or alcohol, is to collect non-perishable food items to be donated to local food pantries. Last year, over 750 students attended C.O.P.S. Open Rec Night, and the police department is projecting an even larger turn out this year since it is their 20th year hosting the event.
One of the main organizers of the event, Sgt. Steve Schneider, says, “Another purpose of the event is for officers and students to interact outside of our usual confines. Usually no one likes to see a cop because the only times you do is when you’ve done something wrong or something bad has happened to you. This night gives us a chance to be seen as people too. I have found it helps our relationships throughout the year.”
Sgt. Schneider also notes that the event brings together many communities on campus. Public Safety could never put on an event of this size by themselves. He says, “It takes the combined effort of the Student Government Association, Student Affairs, Student Activities, Housing, and Facilities along with the Police Department to pull this night off. We have a lot of officers give a significant amount of their time to this event and it’s a fun night for everyone involved.”
“I enjoy organizing this event for the students and it’s amazing how big it’s gotten in the last twenty years. Last year we had over 750 students swipe into the event. They ate their way through ten six foot subs, 150 pizzas and 500 burgers. So this year we’re getting more,” he continues, “There are a ton of businesses in the area involved as well, through either food donations or gift certificates as prizes. It’s really become a community event, not just an Eastern one. Because we hand out extra raffle tickets through student donations of canned goods, we collected over 2,500 cans of food last year that went right back into the community with the help of the Center for Community Engagement. It’s a great event and I’m proud to be a part of it.”