GW students experience virtual reality at Fall Fest

Virtually every celebrity in the D.C. area attended Saturday’s Fall Fest on the GW Quad – the magic of virtual reality brought them there.

But it was the Program Board that brought the students musical acts, food and inflatable activities.

“It’s great, it’s like previous years, but as I remember it’s better than last year’s,” said graduate student Darrell Villaruz, who had minutes before taken a snapshot with his arm around a virtual President Bill Clinton.

PB was working on the concept and attracting attention since last year.

“We’ve been working on various elements since early spring – everything from the music, the food, and the entertainment,” said Seth Weinert, executive vice chair of PB.

PB Parties Chairman Eli Gorin said this was the earliest in the year PB ever hosted Fall Fest.

“We figured it’s close to the beginning of the year, and people don’t have much work and a lot of people don’t have jobs yet,” Gorin said.

Preceded by two rainy days, the PB was unsure if the event could be held outdoors, but at 5:30 a.m. Saturday, Gorin decided to host the event on the Quad.

With plenty of sun and water bottles on hand, the event began at 12 p.m. with the sounds of Long Island-based music group Nothing Rhymes with Orange.

Ian Zeitzer, concert chairman of the PB, arranged for the appearance of the musical acts which included Orange, GW-based Goldie, DJ Skribble of MTV’s Global Groove and event headliner Fishbone.

“We were looking for groups who were diverse sounding to attract people with multiple tastes,” Zeitzer said.

The news of Skribble coming to GW was enough to bring sophomores Gazeena Soni and Sanjana Khoobchandani out to the Quad at 6:30 a.m. The co-chairs for the multi-cultural affairs committee for the PB said they spent most of Saturday morning encouraging students from Thurston Hall and the Hall on Virginia Avenue to come to Saturday’s event.

“Today’s event took a lot of planning, and everybody has heard about DJ Skribble coming, so it should be pretty fun,” Khoobchandani said.

The entertainment for Saturday’s event was provided by Michigan-based Paradigm Entertainment.

“(Paradigm) has been really helpful – they’re a touring company and they seem to be very nice people to work with,” Gorin said.

“We do over 1,000 festivals like these each year,” said Bob Schinker, owner and president of Paradigm, who attended Saturday’s Fall Fest. “It usually takes us less than two hours to get everything up and running.”

In addition to the inflatables and electronics, the PB also offered several giveaways such as T-shirts, caps, beverage keys, in addition to several trivia contests for gift certificates to the GW Bookstore and the Improv.

Among Saturday’s popular attractions was sumo wrestling, in which challengers put on bulky sumo outfits and helmets.

“It’s so hot and so heavy and the mat is like 1,000 degrees,” said freshman Gary Bullard, who had just wrestled fellow freshman Brett Kaplan. “I definitely got some blisters on my feet, but we’ve been having fun.”

Students also entertained themselves by playing virtual reality games and noshing on a variety of foods, including burgers, vegetable burgers, hot dogs, cotton candy and snow cones.

“It’s very exciting, but it’s hard to get coordinated at first,” said freshman Modesto Llantada, who had just finished a game of Quake II on virtual reality.

Despite all of Saturday’s attractions, PB was able to keep within its budget.

“Our mantra for this year was more with less,” Weinert said. “Our budget is not as large as last year’s; there are not as many resources as last year because of the renovation of the Marvin Center.”

While numerical difference between this year’s and last year’s budget was not great, Weinert said the difference took into account the 300 to 400 more students from the freshman class.

“I hope that students leave today knowing that the PB is here for the student body.that we’re not our own entity and that we are not oblivious to what people want – we want student input,” Gorin said.

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