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UConnapalooza finds a foe in rain

By Matt Gantos
On April 27, 2014

The Residence Hall Association's 2nd annual UConnapalooza got hit by some crippling rain on Saturday. The RHA, as well as East Hall Association and Dining Services, set up their tents as promised, but there were still things missing, including the people.
"We hoped to see more people," Tiffany Cousins, a senior geography and geoscience major, said. "But there's really nothing we could do about the rain."
According to Cousins, because of the rain, the RHA wasn't able to set up their promised inflatables including, "an obstacle course, the four man challenge...and a money wind tunnel where students would be able to exchange their 'money' for prizes."
Of course, there were plenty of giveaways to be had from the RHA and the Spring Weekend committee, such as drawstring bags, t-shirts and foam husky paws.
The RHA was hosting a free tie-dye tent to all students. They even supplied free tank tops, though the smalls and mediums ran out quickly. John Ewen of the RHA said that students were also welcome to bring whatever clothing they want and tie die it if they so choose.
The tie-dye tent was probably the most populated tent, though students seemed to follow the lines wherever they went because that usually meant free things.
Of course, it wouldn't be UConnapalooza without music. Ian Loftis and his sound team started putting together the stage on Friday and had it running by 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
"The rain isn't a problem, just another day at the office," Loftis said.
The sound table, had its own private tent to protect most of the equipment, and everything else was covered with trash bags.
"[Covering the speakers] is important because then water can't get in and fry the circuitry, but I've been doing this since I was 12, so we've got this covered," he said.
The stage was set up in the big brick circle by the bus stop where Fairfield Way meets Hillside Road. Several inflatable tents set up by the Fresh Check Day group were set up on Hillside Road between Gampel Pavilion and the Student Recreation Facility.
Fresh Check Day is a group dedicated to mental health awareness and coping strategies for college students and was started by Marisa Ciarnella-Porco after losing her son Jordan three years ago.
"We're were thinking about a way to communicate for students to take care of themselves and take care of each other and that the university cares about you," Ciarnello-Porco said.
Ciarnello-Porco said that the rain actually did not affect their event. Their very unique inflatable tents are what she calls their "signature look." The tents were probably what attracted most of the students to the other tents on Fairfield Way.

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