By JACKIE ORCHARD
There is rap music bumping in the campus center “bean” and friends are swapping paints. A green acrylic is passed in exchange for a bright yellow, students chatter happily over their unfinished pottery, and the music shifts to a reggae beat.
Chris Neal, a junior, greets students as they enter. He’s a member of the UAlbany Programming Board.
“I’m a Programming Assistant,” Neal says. “I help coordinate and plan the events that happen here, on and off campus.”
“ISSA Vibe” is every Tuesday night, and the event changes each time. This past week was painting pottery, the week before students made their own dream catchers, and tonight will be a lip sync battle.
No matter what, it’s totally free.
“It’s all included in your student activity fee,” says Neal. “It’s all low cost, low budget. It’s more about de-stressing.”
The paint and pottery night was Neal’s idea. He’s not an art student, he majors in communications, but he believes in using hobbies to de-stress.
“I like seeing students come together and conversing, who normally wouldn’t with each other,” Neal says. “It’s nice to see everyone, all in the same room.”
One of those people is freshman Marina Nana.
“My friend and I were on the MyInvolvement page and we were just scrolling through and we saw it,” says Nana. “I love it, free paint.”
The music almost drowns out Nana’s laughs as she shows me her half-painted pottery.
“As you can tell, I’m not an art student,” Nana says. “I just came to hang, get out of my dorm.”
Looking around the room, the roughly 10 students are either intently focused on painting, nodding their heads to the music, or laughing with a friend.
“It’s pretty calming and relaxing,” Nana says. “After a long day, something like this will ease your mind.”
When asked her favorite part about the event, Nana immediately replied, “The music.”
Natalie Seow, another freshman, also found the event on MyInvolvement.
“I was just scrolling through and I thought this was cute so I told my friend about it,” Seow says. “It’s cute, I like painting and I like art.”
As for the activity being free, the students say they love it.
“Everyone loves that,” Seow says. “And I get to take home a pot.”
To find out what the Programming Board is planning next, you can follow them on instagram @UAlbanyPB, or look for them on the podium on Wednesdays for their give-aways.