Devlin Daley’s home away from home is the Student Activities Office on the fourth floor of Reamer Campus Center.
There, surrounded by bottomless candy bowls and posters promoting speakers who’ve come to Union (from poet Maya Angelou to actor Tituss Burgess), Devlin does what she loves: devises late-night weekend events that offer old-fashioned fun in a welcoming environment.
“Our events offer a break from staring at a screen all day,” says Devlin, who leads U-Program. “Students aren’t using their phones; they’re having conversations.”
The student-run U-Program sponsors some 40 free, and alcohol-free, events each year.
“Our most popular event is Bingo. It’s a huge hit,” Devlin says.
Indeed, sometimes 200 students show up at Reamer to see what’s in the cards for them; perhaps a chance to go home with an iPad, a Keurig coffee machine or a SodaStream.
Held Friday and Saturday nights, U-Program activities have also included everything from mini-golf and magic shows to murder mystery dinners. Last year, the group rented out the Via Aquarium in nearby Rotterdam for the opportunity to party alongside thousands of sea creatures.
With more than 100 students attending each event, the fun and games are serious business.
“It’s a large time commitment,” says Devlin, who keeps scribble-filled notebooks with schedules, ideas and other down-to-the-dot details. “We’re planning and programming every single week, always thinking about how to get students out of their rooms.”
Devlin read about U-Program through a student newsletter during her first year at Union and immediately jumped in.
“I like planning events, and they were looking for a PR chair,” she remembers. “I met a lot of people. The upperclassmen were incredibly supportive. My sophomore year, I became president, which allowed me to build up my leadership skills. I could succeed and fail in a non-threatening way.”
Devlin also puts her planning instincts to work as a member of the Union College Conduct Committee; as vice president of Alpha Delta Lambda, a local, philanthropy-based sorority founded at Union; and as a residence adviser in Davidson Hall, where she naturally reaches out to students and suggests U-Program events.
“I get my energy from working with students and seeing them thrive,” she says.