AMP event turns library into 'Club Swem'

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William & Mary’s Earl Gregg Swem Library, as you would expect, is a popular space for students to quietly study for exam, conduct research, or work on papers. But the ideal locale to dance the night away may be the last thing on your mind.

Yet that’s just what happened on Feb. 25 as Alma Mater Productions (AMP)’s second annual “Club Swem” event turned students’ regular place of study into a nightclub, complete with a dance floor, karaoke DJ, and strobe lights.

“Club Swem came about last year and we’re always trying to think of something fun and new that we can bring to campus that will be unique to William and Mary,” said Kyle Dooley ’11, chair of AMP’s Special Events Committee, which plans Club Swem annually. “So people and the committee last year thought, what’s a place that everyone knows on campus that isn’t used very much for AMP Events and from there, it just unfolded.”

Last year’s Club Swem event was so well attended by William & Mary students that some were forced to wait outside until space inside cleared up. This year, AMP worked with the library to open up more space in Swem’s “read and relax” area so that more students could enjoy the fun. 

“It looks bigger than last year,” special committee member Liz Hanson ’12 said. “Last year, we had 2,000 people show up and this year, we actually have a little more space for people so we’re able to let a little more people in. And it’s great! It looks like we pretty much have maximum capacity.”

The Special Events Committee of AMP, William & Mary’s primary campus-wide programming board, annually plans Club Swem and other fun activities to give W&M students something to do on the weekends. Other events planned by the committee include the last day of classes bash, football tailgates, and a “zombie apocalypse” on Halloween.

“We basically come up with all of the events that are original; we just sort of make up our own.” Hanson said. “As opposed to our music committee and movie committee and all these other things, we can sort of think outside the box and help with anything.”

In the future, Dooley said that he hopes to expand the event itself to possibly include other well-known campus locations.

“I’m hoping it’s going to grow, and maybe it could be something where it’s not just Club Swem, but maybe Club Millington, or Club Sadler Center,” Dooley said of other buildings on campus, “just any place where we can go on-campus and have a good time.”

For Hanson, spending time relaxing and chilling out in a location usually associated with such high stress and studying, was for her, the greatest benefit.

“I’m just really excited that the campus was so excited about this and was ready to come out,” she said. “It’s just really nice to celebrate in a place where you usually spend so much time doing work.”