As if three majors weren’t keeping him busy enough, Gabriel Valencia is attempting to put on a record-breaking Binghamton event.
Valencia, a resident assistant (RA) in Mohawk Hall and a senior triple-majoring in comparative literature, French and biology, is the head of an annual RA event in College-in-the-Woods (CIW) called “Haunted Hall.” With a team of nine other Mohawk RAs and many students in the community, the event is a fun and scary way to bring CIW residents closer together.
“I really wanted to start a tradition,” Valencia said. “I want not only Mohawk residents, but all CIW residents to feel like they are part of a community.”
As the name of the event suggests, the Mohawk Great Room will be turned into a big haunted house, complete with a spooky set and actors ready to terrify visitors.
Since Mohawk is also known as a center for international student living, Valencia initially intended for it to educate students from outside the country about western traditions like Halloween.
The event, which began in the fall of 2013, has an incredible attendance history. In its first year running, there was a massive turnout of 344 residents, making it the largest documented RA event in Binghamton University history. Last year, the number increased to almost 400 students, but Valencia doesn’t want it to stop there. Since this is the last year he can put “Haunted Hall” on himself, he wants the student turnout numbers to soar.
Such a feat, however, isn’t possible without tons of preparation. For almost a month, Valencia and his team have been working to get the “Haunted Hall” ready for the general public. Though they have used actors from the Dickinson Community Players in the past, Valencia decided he wanted residents from CIW to volunteer as actors as a way to garner more community involvement.
Valencia credits much of the project’s success to not only his team, but to Assistant Director of College-in-the-Woods Erin Kentos and first-year Mohawk Residential Director Jennifer Roach.
“She [Roach] was just hired this year and is very supportive of the idea,” Valencia said. “Without her help, I don’t think it would have been possible.”
This Sunday, Valencia and his team will work from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m., clearing out the Mohawk Great Room and setting up everything they need for the night. Then, they will do a run-through with all of the volunteer actors and actresses.
When asked what newcomers should expect, all Valencia had to say was “just be ready to be scared.”
The event starts at 6 p.m. and runs until 9:30 p.m. this Sunday in the Mohawk Great Room. Admission is free for all students, so stop by if you’re looking to start off your Halloween week with a fright.