The University of New Hampshire (UNH) joined the nationwide “Storm Area 51” movement this past Wednesday by hosting the event “Raiding Area 51: Halloween Dance,” in the Memorial Student Union Building Strafford Room.
The night was full of excitement, with spooky themed games and activities, a photo wall and costume contest for eager costumed participants to capture their cool looks. Constellation colored goodie bags lined the tables of the event, with candies strewn across glittery table clothes— all free for the taking. From snickers to sour patch kids— to chocolate chip cookies and brownies and cupcakes with googly eyes— to piles of mini bags of chips, the event had something for everyone. There was even large bowls of punch with faux eyeballs floating in it and green alien glasses in case someone missed the costume memo.
“We want to put on a dance that gets all the orgs and members from different identities together to have fun,” senior finance major Samrawit Silva, the chair for the Black Student Union, said.
Only 45 minutes into the event, over 100 people had already stopped by adorned in topical costumes such as Pikachu and the Joker to classics such as the Angel and the Devil.
“I want to play for everybody tonight,” DJ WHS said as he stood on the stage sharing remixed versions of songs such as “That’s My Best Friend,” by Tokyo Vanity, fostering an inclusive and fun environment full of dancing and beat drops.
The event was put on by the Black Student Union, an organization that seeks to provide black students and allies a space to gain knowledge, awareness and a sense of self; in collaboration with Alliance, an LGBTQIAP+ student group; the United Asian Coalition, an organization that celebrates and educates fellow UNH students and community about Asian/Asian American/Pacific Islander cultures; and MOSAICO, an organization that performs functions and events which emphasize culture and heritage from various Latin American countries.
The groups collaborated to bring an event in hopes to spark some campus excitement.
“Every year we all get together and try to think of what’s happening right now,” Silva said. “We thought this would be really cool.”
“Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us” or “Raid Area 51,” was a viral joke that involved a Facebook event created by Matty Roberts on June 27, that invited people to join him in a raid on Sept. 20. The event refers to the desire to raid the United States Air Force facility within the Nevada Test and Training Range referred to as “Area 51.” This facility has been the focus of many Americans, who believe the site houses extraterrestrial life.
The Facebook event reached monumental popularity, with over two million people responding “going” and over 1.5 million responding as “interested.” Roberts, a 21-year-old California resident, was shocked at the response.
“I just thought it would be a funny idea for the meme page,” he said speaking to NPR. “And it just took off like wildfire. It’s entirely satirical though, and most people seem to understand that.”
Roberts, who used the event movement to host a huge dance party in Rachel, a town close to Area 51. He deemed the event “Alienstock,” hoping to draw all the people who responded to his event to partake.
Like Roberts’ “Alienstock”, the event “Storm Area 51” was full of whimsical excitement surrounding a nationwide conspiracy theory, as people danced the night away and focused on the importance of community on the UNH campus.