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The Origin Story of Nights at the Plex

Nights at the Plex is a community-focused outlet for students of varying interests. From the nostalgia of tie-dying a t-shirt and making a s'more, to the competition of cornhole and bingo, there is quite a variety at the Plex. Whether one is interested in art, athletics, music, meeting new people, or all of the above, the Plex has it all.

Though its implementation has been successful, how was this concept created and how has it managed to continue?

Student and Associated Student Council (ASC) Events and Programming Executive, Elizabeth Duncan says that planning for the Plex began back in March.

“Things were definitely going to have to be different," Duncan adds that they realized this when campus shut down and all were sent home for quarantine, and they were trying to plan events for the upcoming school year. They would have to use outside space and enforce social distancing, which is how the concept for the Plex was born.

Located at the Snowbarger Athletic Complex, the Plex for short, events are sectioned off outside to host a variety of activities. In order to follow state-sanctioned guidelines, each individual event is divided between tents and open space to keep distance appropriate. Even chairs set up around tables are placed diagonally to promote social distancing. The Plex has had something available every weekday for the last five weeks since school started; but going forward, event nights will be cut down to two to four per week.

The Olivet Nazarene University official website says that though changes were required for its execution, the Plex, “was created to help foster an environment for students to enjoy socially distanced activities.”

This sentiment was reinforced by Duncan, who explains that fostering a health-conscious sense of community was a priority when conceiving the Plex. She says she really wanted to give people a space where they could create friendships and find people while continuing to maintain safety.

She adds that student turnouts have been good, and attendees have been following the protocols in place for safety well. Duncan says that when initially planning, she realized that they would be “putting the [success of the] plex into the hands of the students,” because if safety guidelines weren’t followed, the Plex wouldn’t be able to continue. She explains that the risks involved were great, but seeing the students stick to the rules and participate in building community during such a difficult time has been really encouraging.

Junior Kwame McGee is one of the students who has been in attendance of Nights at the Plex the past few weeks. He believes that the creation of the Plex has allowed campus to keep an element of normalcy and has made sure that students can still thrive.

“Please, please, please at least try the Plex once this semester, if you haven’t given it a shot yet, just try it," McGee says.

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