2016 Helen C. House Party

The 8th annual Helen C. House Party at College Library was held on Thursday, Sept. 15, 2016, from 8pm to 11pm. That evening the library was transformed into a venue of non-stop action, with entertainment, games and tons of free food. As an official Wisconsin Welcome event, everyone on campus was invited to #seehelenparty! As in year’s past, the house party featured carnival games and prizes, balloon art, team trivia, face painting, video games, arts & crafts & hacks, a retro photo booth, and live entertainment – all this in addition to free food – pizza, sub sandwiches, cotton candy, popcorn, and more!

New in 2016 was a timed obstacle course that converted Room 1191 (which normally houses the library’s Main Collection) into a series of challenges testing both physical and mental dexterity. Next door in Room 1193, staff set out featured board games from the library’s circulating collection. Also on hand was a giant Jenga set for larger-than-life fun.

For those with Etsy in their hearts, the Arts & Crafts section of the House Party provided an opportunity to make custom book-marks, pom-pom bouquets, or tote-bag decorating. Party attendees could also create personal buttons with the library’s button-maker or, new this year, make custom key chains using their favorite button designs. Sharing Room 1250, members of Sector 67 showcased their 3D printer and allowed visitors to try their hand at a “Helen-copter” obstacle course featuring hula-hoops within a net enclosure. Animation-stations on loan from The Bubbler of Madison Public Library provided an additional creative outlet.

A variety of performers on the Main Stage entertained people waiting in the food line. Among those sharing their diverse talents were Bellydancing UW, Omulu Capoeira, The Understudies, and Madison Area Jugglers.

On the second floor of the library, Room 2191 was transformed into carnival-central with dozens of games and a chance to win prizes. In addition to Team Trivia, other options include Flickin’ Chicken, Plinko, Hit the Hits, Ring Toss, Pick-a-Duck, and Weenie Roast. (Thanks to It’s Your Party for game rentals.) A Retro Photo Booth in Room 2250 gave students the chance to time-travel into iconic campus photos, while an Occulus Rift demo in the adjacent space provides a glimpse into the future.

College Library is grateful for support for this event from both the campus and community. It would not be possible without subsidies from the Center for the First-Year Experience and the Gaus Fund. We also appreciated food donations from Domino’s, Pizza Hut, Pepsi, Canteen Vending, Ian’s Pizza, Milio’s, Rocky Rococo’s, Insomnia Cookies, and Wings Over Madison.

As an official Welcome Week event, the Helen C. House Party encourages students to get acquainted with College Library and each other.