Campus Festivities Led by the USU Welcome in the Fall Season

November 21, 2023

Students at USU Mystic Evening

Students at Mystic Evening. Photo by Briana Walden.

By: Teagan Davidge

The University Student Union (USU) entered the autumn holiday season by hosting Mystic Evening and a Dia de Los Muertos altar this semester to celebrate culture and create new campus traditions.

Mystic Evening, the annual Halloween bash, is one of the largest events of the year.

“Our goal with Mystic Evening was to celebrate the fall season and its festivities with our students, their friends and families. We provided a diverse range of themed activities for students to enjoy,” said Elijah Barcena, student events assistant.

Escape rooms, tarot reading, a horror maze, a night market, a photo booth, and a balloon artist highlighted the event, with tarot reading sessions and the escape rooms, drawing the largest crowds.

“The tarot readings had a line extending all the way outside, and the escape rooms were fully booked right away,” said Barcena. “Another one that seemed popular was the balloon artist who crafted balloon wands and animals for everyone to take home. It was definitely a spooktacular, fun filled night.”

The Pride Center’s Dia de Los Muertos altar, displayed inside the Sol Center for the first few days of November, was another popular attraction for Matadors. Queer and Trans students were invited to add to the alter mementos of late ancestors, and place photos of deceased loved ones on the tapestry of remembrance.

Pride Center Dia de los Muertos Altar

Pride Center Dia de Los Muertos altar. Photo courtesy of the Pride Center.

“For many of our students, Dia de los Muertos is a cultural celebration that really resonates with them,” said Ren Stone, Pride Center supervisor. “We want our altar to honor our students' cultural experiences, and also honor particularly queer and trans people who have passed by providing an additional altar for people to remember.”

Stone said the Pride Center designed the program to bring students together to pay their respects, as well as learn more about fellow Queer and Trans community members and their varied cultures.

“Our students have a number of cultures that resonate with them, and LGBTQ people, especially queer and trans people of color, are multifaceted in their identities,” Stone said. “I think it's really important for us as a Pride Center to honor people’s experiences and their lived truths through doing something like an altar.”