Wee’Ours offers alternative weekend activities for students
tudents now have more late-night entertainment options with the introduction of Wee’Ours, a group whose primary goal is to ensure the availability of on-campus events after 8 p.m. on weekends.
“We do this by organizing events ourselves and helping clubs by providing additional funding and reserving rooms to organize events in this time frame,” senior Krista Haapanen, the group’s leader, said.
Helping Haapanen are two work-study employees, sophomore Cooper Weissman and senior Ryan Coleman, who do the grunt work required to ensure the events run smoothly.
While Wee’Ours does provide an alternative to partying on the weekends, its purpose is not to encourage students to adopt a substance-free lifestyle.
“Whether you’re substance-free or just waking up early the next morning, we don’t want your two options to be ‘go out to parties’ or ‘sit alone in my room watching Netflix,’” Haapanen said.
The group hopes they can help students take a chance on activities other than the standard Friday and Saturday night choices.
Last Saturday was the first Wee’Ours event of the year—a “TED Talk” viewing and discussion, complete with free pizza, in the Wheelock Student Center Rotunda at 9 p.m.
About 20 to 30 people attended to learn more about non-profit organizations, human enhancement and evolution and advertising. The night ended with a discussion about the featured topics.
“TED Talks” is a non-profit organization that started in 1984 as a conference to bring inspirational people together in the wide-ranging fields of technology, entertainment and design. The 20-minute video lectures have attracted more than a billion views online with the hope that they contain “ideas worth spreading.”
Junior Lee Pennebaker, a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon, selects the videos to be shown in the Rotunda. Pennebaker previously hosted the “TED” screenings in the basement of the fraternity house, until Wee’Ours stepped in to help move the events to a more accessible location.
Pennebaker’s aim in hosting the “TED Talks” was to “galvanize the campus community around academia and social justice, create bonds between otherwise segmented parts of the campus community, and promote open yet structured discussion and debate.”
The subject of the talk is not revealed ahead of time, so students will not be deterred by a specific topic they may have a bias against learning about.
“I decide which topics to show based on quality of talks available, feedback from others, and the amalgamation of both these criteria within a one-week turnaround,” Pennebaker said.
He has received mostly positive feedback from those who attended; however, an anonymous comment appeared on the Facebook page “UPS Confessions” claiming the talks were “non-inclusive.”
“The advertising posters blatantly say the talks are open to all,” Pennebaker said.
Besides “TED Talk” screenings, Wee’Ours has been tossing around other event ideas, including trivia in the Cellar on Fridays before Ubiquitous They (with prizes), social dancing, late-night yoga, Oppenheimer after-hours professor lectures and wine tasting, as well as more TED Talks.
The group wants all clubs interested in hosting a late-night event on campus to know that Wee’Ours can help.
The Student Alliance for Satyagraha Studies (SASS), run by seniors Maya Steinborn and James Oliver, is just one club taking advantage of Wee’Ours.
“[SASS] focuses on sharing meditation and nonviolent communication as tools for cultivating inner peace,” Steinborn said.
Wee’ours and SASS have been in contact to discuss a SASS-sponsored event. The club plans to host a dinner and meditation session around Thanksgiving.
The club will be “serving vegetarian food, discussing where it came from, and why we are grateful for the meal; there will be meditation before and after the meal, and music integrated throughout the event,” Steinborn said.
This idea is just one example of the potential Wee’Ours has to facilitate diverse experiences for the campus community and make clubs more accessible to the student body.
The next “TED Talk” event is scheduled for Oct. 12 at 9 p.m. in the Wheelock Student Center Rotunda.
If any individual or club would like to offer an event idea, they can contact the club via email at Weeoursevents@gmail.com or go to the Puget Sound Wee’Ours Events Facebook page.