Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Point Park University's Student-Run Newspaper

Point Park Globe

Monte Carlo Night: a Welcome Week staple

Last week, the Office of Student Life kicked off this year’s Woodstock Welcome Week with Monte Carlo Night, an event that has been a Welcome Week staple for over 30 years. 

Students were given Woodstock-themed shirts designed by Kelsey Geary of SAIL. Student Life staff handed out shirts with the help of Felicia Wright of Housekeeping, a long-time volunteer of the event. 

Students were also given coupons redeemable for $10,000 of fake money to use in a wide variety of casino games run by resident educators including blackjack, roulette and poker. Staff with raffle tickets walked around the “casino” floor striking deals with students, exchanging their fake winnings for tickets. Many students, especially those struggling to break even, were even given tickets free of charge.

The games were located in the Lawrence Hall Ballroom while the dining hall next door provided the traditional refreshments of Monte Carlo Night: wings, hotdogs, cheese, cold cuts, and lemonade. The dining hall also had a karaoke machine for students, with singers also being awarded  raffle tickets. Renditions of songs like “Mean” by Taylor Swift served as ambience for students hoping to catch a lucky break in the ballroom.

Before the final raffle of the night, Maria Ochoa, a resident director at the Office of Student Life, led a moment of silence in memory of the creator of Monte Carlo Night, the late Assistant Dean Janet Evans. 

“I know she’s looking down on us,” Ochoa said after the moment of silence. 

Ochoa worked alongside Evans for the past 8 years in the Office of Student Life. She later told The Globe that Evans, “worked for the students, she worked and did everything she could possibly do to help a student with anything they needed.”

“She was a tremendous woman, a total icon here at Point Park,” Ochoa said. “Anybody that you talk to would tell you that her stories and her experiences at Point Park were the stuff of legends.” 

Janet Evans planned the setup that Monte Carlo Night still uses today, including the raffle prizes, the involvement of Residence Life, the casino games provided by Stan Wilmot of Talent Networking, the karaoke provided by Joan Lilly of Joanie Karaoke, and the food spread provided by CulinArt. 

“She always wanted to have a good spread for the students, she looked forward to the yummy food,” Ochoa said. “The staff brought energy and excitement, and we rallied for Ms. Janet. That was the most important thing. To rally for Ms. Janet and to give the students a memorable event, and I believe we did that.” 

Ochoa also pointed out the help provided by Cindy Pietrakowski, the freshman resident director at the Office of Student Life, as well as the support provided by Keely Sapienza of SAIL in coordinating the event.

The efforts of the staff clearly brought results on the night of August 28, as students left the event smiling, regardless of winning or losing. It was an amazing event that commemorated 30 plus years of Monte Carlo Night as well as Janet Evans, a woman who spent decades helping the students of Point Park.

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