UPC holds movie nights as party alternative

By Julia Kacmarek

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On select Friday and Sunday nights at the University of Massachusetts, the smell of popcorn lingers into the Cape Cod Lounge of the Student Union as students and locals gather for movie nights hosted by the University Programming Council.

Gabby Rossi, a senior at UMass, is one of four executive board members of the UPC. She has been a member since she was a freshman and remembers movie nights as a regular UPC event. The nights were originally created in an effort to reduce student drinking, according to UPC.

“We try to provide a different option to a Friday night rather than an off-campus party,” Rossi said.

And sometimes they draw a crowd.

According to Rossi, on the first Friday night this semester, a double feature of “The Hunger Games” and “The Avengers” was wildly popular among students, exceeding the 150-person capacity.

However, this isn’t always the case. If a “less popular” movie is being shown, the UPC members know to expect a much smaller audience. A Sunday night showing of “People Like Us” drew in two guests on Sept. 23.

Those guests were UMass graduate students Cansu Gumus and Mary Diaz who attend the movie nights regularly. They saw the Sept. 23 movie event in a UMass daily planner and decided to go. Gumas said she also came to see “The Hunger Games” and really enjoyed it.

Movie nights are free and guests can view a film they may be interested in buying.

“It’s a way for students to see a movie that isn’t released on DVD yet,” Rossi said.

The UPC looks to the website swank.com to purchase its movie showing rights. Each movie can be as expensive as $1,000 per film. These films are shown twice on each chosen weekend, and this semester, the UPC chose to purchase 10 different films.

Zac Broughton, secretary of finance for the Student Government Association, said the SGA gives the UPC $74,000 for the year, which goes towards all events held by UPC.

Although movie nights don’t consistently bring in more than 150 people, the event continues in its effort to decrease the amount of student partying on campus.

While movie nights may not be students’ first choice, Broughton thinks that it’s good to at least have a choice.

“It’s not the best alternative, but it is an alternative,” he said.

Julia Kacmarek can be reached at [email protected]. Catherine Ferris can be reached at [email protected]