Columbia and MU offer low-cost entertainment

Thursday, July 30, 2009 | 12:00 p.m. CDT; updated 12:43 p.m. CDT, Thursday, July 30, 2009
Singer and songwriter Ben Folds performs his song "Annie Waits" for the 9th Street Summerfest on Wednesday.

MU has venues and events, at discount prices, to entertain students year round.

You could catch a movie at the Ragtag Cinema, 10 Hitt St., for the student price of $6.50.

You could sip on a cheap but quality coffee while watching live acts on stage, or browsing the gallery, free at the Cherry Street Artisan.

You could hike the MKT trail off Stadium Boulevard. Or you could catch free and cheap gigs at The Blue Note, 17 N. Ninth St., with the cheapest tickets ranging from $5 - $20.

But if you’re looking for something that caters specifically to MU students, Mizzou After Dark provides entertainment every Friday night at the Memorial Union.

From beading nights, dating games, movie screenings and a capella performances, coordinator Sara Garner said it offers a variety of activities for students. Every event is catered with Shakespeare’s pizza and soda.

Best of all, it’s free.  

Mizzou After Dark began five years ago as a source of alternative activities on campus, Garner said.

“Our goal is to provide consistent, free, fun things for students to do during times when there aren’t a plethora of things happening on campus,” she said. Events are alcohol-free.

This fall, the majority will take place at the Memorial Student Union beginning at 8 p.m. Fridays except during homecoming, Thanksgiving break and finals, Garner said.

So what can students expect?

Over the years, Mizzou After Dark has hosted numerous holiday-themed parties, screened movies and crafts activities. According to Garner, one of most popular events last year was the grocery bag bingo, where $3,000 worth of groceries was the prize.

“We were expecting around 400 students, and about 750 attended. Everyone went crazy over winning a case of water,” Garner said.

There have also been several movie screenings, a Halloween night, a capella group performance and a Chinese New Year event. Also popular was the Valentine’s Day party.

It included a campus version of the dating game with amusing results, Garner said, as well as making cards, gifts and cupcakes. The beading bonanza was another extremely popular event, she said, where students made jewelry all night.

This year Garner has organized another grocery bag bingo, a Spooktacular Halloween party, tournament night, movie screenings, Bollywood night and spa night, as well as more craft activities.

Another event, the Almost Midnight Breakfast on Oct. 22, is a joint effort with the Greek Life organization.

Students will pitch tents outside Greektown and be served breakfast as they watch preparations for homecoming.

Last fall semester, attendance at Mizzou After Dark events averaged around 668 students. Greg Andi, 19, called it a great way to meet people.

“There are so many people on campus you never get to talk to,” Garner said. “These events really help you meet diverse people and make friends with them. It’s amazing to me when you walk into a room and watch different people interact over beading.”

Chris Shannon, an MU senior, said events often coincided with holidays such as Halloween, where many parties were being held around campus. They offered another venue for freshmen to have fun.

“One of the goals is to provide an alternative to bars,” Garner said. “We get a lot of freshmen who are too young to drink and graduate students who are past that stage. I think these events are important outlets for kids to see themselves and their friends having a good time without alcohol.”

The first event for the semester is Mizzou Up All Night on Aug. 28. The Web site,, describes it as a celebration of the new school year. It will include the usual food from Shakespeare’s, haircuts, airbrush tattoos, a Wii Fit tournament, a DJ, crafts and a photo booth.

“I always say to students, if nothing else, come by and enjoy dinner. See what we have to offer,” Garner said. “And if it’s not your thing, at least you get a free dinner.”

Go to the Mizzou After Dark Facebook page on for the most up-to-date information on all the events, photos and videos.

Go to for information on other cheap campus activities, including $1 weekend movie screenings, free Wednesday movies and bigger concerts.

Mizzou After Dark is completely staffed by MU students, and it's hiring students for upcoming events. Applications can be found on the Facebook page under the boxes tab.

Like what you see here? Become a member.

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Ben Hansen August 3, 2009 | 1:08 p.m.

>>Go to for information on other cheap campus activities, including $1 weekend movie screenings, free Wednesday movies and bigger concerts.<<

This website includes events for not only Mizzou After Dark, but also many from the MSA/GPC Department of Student Activities, who plays host to the aforementioned $1 movie screenings, free Wed. movies and bigger concerts. It also has a facebook page, employees students and offers cheap/free entertainment for students. It is one of the main contributors to Fall Welcome, a round of events to celebrate the beginning of the school year and help welcome the new freshman class.

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