Let the good times roll: VCDJ hosts distanced roller disco

A school-sanctioned party with DJs playing sick beats? Rollerblading races and disco dance-offs? And better still, an appearance from the infamous pink Lamborghini? It all seemed too good to be true, especially with COVID-19 concerns. But despite the obstacles, Vassar College DJs (VCDJ)–formerly Vassar College Sound System–persevered and successfully hosted Vassar’s inaugural Roller Disco. House, rap and 2000s hits boomed from massive speakers as everyone danced and rolled the night away. 

Situated on the Walker Field House parking lot and neighboring Ballantine Field, students were able to safely distance and still enjoy all of the festivities on the night of Oct. 3rd. The donut-shaped parking lot provided a perfect rink for blades, boards, bikes and more, all able to distance and maneuver safely. Students interested in participating signed up for one of four slots, each led by a personal DJ set from Alexis Cerritos, Benjamin Scharf, Elijah Solomon, and Rachel Blair. And if you forgot to sign up or were just there for the bops, the spacious lawn served as a terrific socially-distanced dance floor.

Guest DJ Benjamin Scharf ’22 [disclaimer: Scharf is the Live Events Chair of The Miscellany News] explained that the idea came to him at the beginning of the school year, when he saw Madio Wallner ’22 rollerblading while dancing to music. “With quarantine keeping everyone inside, all I was doing was setting up tracks and finding that perfect dance music,” said Scharf. “I saw Madio rocking out on her blades, and I biked straight to Alexis’ house.” 

Upon hearing the idea, VCDJ President Alexis Cerritos ’22 [disclaimer: Cerritors is the Video Production Manager of The Miscellany News] got right to work with Campus Activities. Although he was the driving force behind the event, Cerritos made it clear that he couldn’t have done it without the help of Campus Activities Assistant Director William Rush. “He fully backed our idea from the start, and worked with us to get every detail down.” COVID-19 precautions, such as only allowing 25 people onto the rink at once, were taken into account from the inception of the event, and after weeks of hard work and policy implementation, the Roller Disco rolled off without a hitch.

After all was said and done, Cerritos gave an additional shoutout to the campus community: “I think it was very successful given the current pandemic circumstances. If any school can pull something like this off, it’s Vassar. We collectively have been able to maintain a low case count, and can now reap some of the benefits of that.” 

Wallner, who took her rollerblades for a spin at the event, agreed that the Roller Disco was extremely successful in its use of space and inclusivity. “All wheels were welcome, making it much more inclusive than a traditional roller disco, which would only be roller skates or blades,” she said. 

And inclusivity is the name of the game for VCDJ. As the org’s executive board reevaluates its presence on campus, its members hope to use the disco’s success to promote accessibility and involvement. “Being a DJ is not hard, but it is an expensive hobby,” says VCDJ Treasurer Rachel Blair. “Our goal is to increase accessibility by alleviating DJing’s financial burden.” Blair explained that VCDJ is currently revamping its equipment, and is looking to begin offering workshops and loaner programs soon. VCDJ’s events are advertised on their Instagram @vcsoundsystem

“Since we are so spread apart right now, how do we come together? And safely, in a party setting?” asked Blair. This question, according to Scharf, is what is pushing event creators to be even more creative with COVID-19 in mind. “Lots of new traditions are starting,” said Scharf, “and we really hope the Roller Disco will stick. We are prepped to make this a regular occasion due to your support, and we don’t plan on disappointing.”

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