Lerner Hall transformed into a Mardi Gras festival complete with neon lights and pounding music on Thursday night for the 12th annual Glass House Rocks celebration: part dance showcase, part concert, and all party.
Glass House Rocks, founded by Matthew Harrison, CC ’05, is one of the biggest student events on campus each year. The event combines performances from theater and a cappella groups, which take place in the Black Box Theater, with a dance group showcase on Lerner’s ramps for entertainment. Free food and T-shirts were in store for attendees and a pop-up bar was stocked for seniors.
The task of coordinating the event each year comes down to a committee of organizers representing each undergraduate college, selected by Vice Presidents of Campus Life for their respective schools. The event is not officially affiliated with any of the student council groups; instead, the organizing committee is completely independent and receives funding from each of the four undergraduate schools for food and equipment. This year’s event organizers were Aku Acquaye, BC ’18, Francisco Hernandez, CC ’19, and Ben Barton, SEAS ’18. The three coordinated a team of volunteers, recruited performance groups, and ordered enough food to serve the estimated crowd of over 1,000.
Acquaye was quick to emphasize the scale of the event. “So much time and effort went into it, and so many people are responsible. It’s not just us—it’s our advisors, who have been really open and available to us, Public Safety, and Lerner Operations. It’s a really big event, and so many people put their time and effort into it,” Acquaye said.
Every floor of Lerner was taken over for the event. The second-floor piano lounge’s massive food buffet included student favorites such as Dig Inn and Momofuku, clubs set up tables in the study lounges, and the auditorium was dominated by a bull-riding machine that students could take turns on.
The most popular attraction was the continuous stream of dance performances occupying Lerner’s top two ramps. A crowd of spectators watched from each level, and dances occurred at fifteen-minute intervals for the majority of the night. Nine of Columbia’s dance groups, including hip-hop troupe ONYX, CU Bellydance, and Latin dance group Sabor, took over the ramps to perform.
Improv troupes and a cappella group performances provided a quieter, but still entertaining, break from the action in Lerner’s main space. For the first time this year, Glass House Rocks also included a stand-up comedy show during an intermission, organized by Shreyas Manohar, CC ’18.
The diversity of student talent included in Glass House Rocks made it easy for every attendee to find something that they enjoyed, thus engaging all members of Columbia’s community.
“It’s for the community, you know? We all did this because we want to provide this sense of community, that’s kind of lacking at this school, that people really want,” Hernandez said. “Especially in terms of the recent events that have happened—we wanted to provide a place where people can come together and enjoy the night.”
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