Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Diverse students come together to dine, dance at ‘Club Lakeside’

Lakeside Dining Hall serves more than just food to students at The University of Alabama.

On any Tuesday night at Late Night Lakeside, the atmosphere is nothing short of electric as hip-hop and rap music echoes through the open space of the hall. The daily setup of tables and chairs is cleared and transformed into a dance floor.

Affectionately known as “Club Lakeside,” the activity has been an integral part of many students’ campus life for years. Senior Kirkland Back said she vividly remembers going her freshman year and acknowledged the program’s defining culture.

(See also “Lakeside Dining steps up appeal with addition of Tender Tuesdays“)

“The most memorable part about it was definitely the dancing,” Back said. “It was always the same crowd. They seemed to really enjoy a space where they could dance and hang out on campus.”

In an effort to be more accessible, Bama Dining extends the dining hall’s hours of operation from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday nights to serve breakfast food. With a DJ providing entertainment, Tuesday nights are highly anticipated by attendees.

Rachel Barwick, marketing coordinator for Bama Dining, said Late Night Lakeside began seven years ago and has experienced some changes over the years to keep it new and exciting.

“It was started in order to give the students a place to go relax, hang out with friends and enjoy some breakfast-type menu items,” Barwick said.

In the beginning, some students were skeptical of its purpose. Kendall Mays, a graduate research assistant in the journalism department, recounted his initial opinion as an undergraduate student at the University.

“The first night I walked into Late Night, I was really caught off guard,” Mays said. “I remember my friends and I thinking, ‘This is really stupid.’ We openly joked about how it was going to blow up in UA’s face.”

(See also “Bama Dining to host local artists“)

Other students had even more doubts after an incident two years ago when a UA student was stabbed in the restrooms of the dining hall after an altercation with another student in November 2011 at Late Night Lakeside. Despite the incident and skepticism, Mays said there was a noticeable difference in the vibe on campus before and after the incident because of Late Night Lakeside.

“For about two years, there was a group of guys who’d choreograph dance steps specifically for Late Night Lakeside,” Mays said. “All of sudden, you didn’t just get food, you got a spectacle.”

After seven years, many consider the event to be a vital part of campus culture. Barwick said she believes it has positively impacted students.

“It allows freshmen and upperclassmen the chance to interact with one another in a safe and comfortable setting,” Barwick said. “It also gives them a social environment where they can visit with old and new friends, enjoy some good food, stay close to home and … avoid the Strip.”

Freshman Autumn Underwood said Late Night Lakeside has allowed her to meet and interact with new people every week.

“The fun nights keep me coming back,” Underwood said. “I wouldn’t be able to meet new people, because there are no more dining halls like this.”

(See also “Female student stabbed at Lakeside Dining Hall“)

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