Eastway Center has fun activities for tight budgets

Olivia Mihalic

Ashlee Hopkins, senior international relations major, plays the game Dance Dance Revolution at Eastway Center yesterday. For $1 a player can get three songs, and try to match the steps the screen displays. “It’s good exercise,” Hopkins said.

Credit: Jason Hall

Sweat trickles down a student’s forehead as his feet fly in all different directions. Meanwhile, another student touches his toes, stretching out and waiting for his turn.

These guys aren’t preparing to run a triathlon. They are avid players of Dance Dance Revolution, one of the many games available in the lower level of Eastway Center.

“It’s just phenomenal, the craze,” said Harold Nash, manager of the lower level of Eastway Center. “It’s a cult. It’s very fun. They really get into it.”

Other activities in the lower level include bowling, billiards, air hockey and various arcade games. Right outside is a store where students can get anything from coffee to Popsicles.

“It’s a nice place to get together and relax,” Nash said. “We have all kinds of activities.”

According to Nash, students also can do more for less money than they would spending a night on the town.

“(When you spend a night downtown) you’ve got $30 to $40 tied up in the night,” Nash said. “You’re going to get out of here in under $20.”

Every night, students are in Eastway Center playing games in between classes and study sessions. Kolleen Klann, sophomore middle education major, especially likes the bowling.

“I think it’s pretty sweet,” she said. “There’s black lights, and that’s totally awesome.”

Bowling is $2 a person per game and $1 for shoes, which is cheap compared to other bowling alleys in town, Nash said.

Almost every night around 7 p.m. is “moon-rock bowling,” where students can play in the dark and listen to music. The carpeting glows with busy patterns of bowling pins and balls under the lights.

Another advantage of the bowling alley is that you can almost always get a lane between 6 p.m. and 9 p.m., during what is called “prime time,” when most bowling alleys have league play, Nash said. There are six lanes available.

“You can’t do that on the outside (of campus),” he said.

As for DDR, the players are serious. Graduate student Dan Cieplinski lost almost 30 pounds dancing on the pad every day. He said he prefers it to the gym.

“I would go (to the recreation center) but it’s a gym setting,” Cieplinski said. “Working in a gym atmosphere is very intimidating.”

Students even put the patterns in their laptops to look at them before they dance, Nash said.

“I actually see students doing it backwards,” he said. However, there are easier patterns for starters.

All of the activities in Eastway Center can be paid for using FlashCash or cash. Pool is free. DDR costs $1 for three songs. Activities also are open to faculty and the public.

Nash said he wishes more students would come and enjoy the facilities instead of spending so much money downtown.

“It would probably keep them out of trouble,” he said.

The area is open from 1 p.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and 1 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday.

Contact on-campus entertainment reporter Olivia Mihalic at [email protected].