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Highland Commons officially opens

EVAN CARAVELLI/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Engineering physics majors Chris Sass (right) and Chris Johnson were chosen by raffle to cut the ribbon at a ceremony officially opening the Highland Commons last night. The residence hall governments of the two dormitories staged the event because the university did not conduct an opening.
By Jesse Lewis
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, October 11, 2004
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Cienega, San Pedro Residence Halls celebrate grand opening

More than 150 residents of the Highland Commons came together last night to celebrate the grand opening of the halls with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and free food.

The event was planned by a collaboration of the members of the hall governments of Posado San Pedro and Pueblo De La Cienega Residence Halls.

The halls have been open since the beginning of the year, but the courtyard between the halls and the Campus Health Building was just recently completed.

Tiffany Bellan, the executive director of San Pedro's hall government, said the members have been working for more than three weeks on the event and prepared for 600 people to come.

Bellan, an international studies sophomore, said that this year's event is different than the grand opening of Villa Del Puente Residence Hall last year, which was not planned by students. She said the student-planned event gave them more of an opportunity to get students to come.

"Students planned all of it, and we encouraged more students to come and get involved," Bellan said.

Residence Life gave the halls $1,000 to throw the party, and the halls each kicked in $230 to cover the rest of the event, said Sommer Aldulaimi, programming director for San Pedro.

The event was catered by Jimmy John's and featured music from KAMP Mobile DJ.

Residents were given meal tickets, which doubled as raffle tickets to select a representative from each hall to cut the ribbon at the ceremony.

Sophomore Chris Sass and freshman Chris Johnson, both engineering physics majors, were the two chosen to cut the ribbon. They were surprised to meet each other, considering there are only about 40 engineering physics majors.

Both the residents were excited to have been chosen and thought the ceremony was a great way to kick off the year.

"I think it's ironic I didn't win any basketball tickets, but I got to cut the ribbon," Johnson said.

Sass thought the ceremony was a good idea even if it was a little delayed.

"I like free food and I wasn't expecting to be picked, even though it's been open like this for a few weeks. It's fun," Sass said.

The event was originally planned for next weekend, but because the next month is full of events on- and off-campus, the halls decided to pull it together a week early so that the halls could officially open sooner, Bellan said.

Tatum Airey, pre-pharmacy freshman and San Pedro resident, said the only downfall of the event is that it was put off until October, rather than when the halls actually opened.

"They should have done it earlier because the halls are already cliquey, we've all established friends already," Airey said.

AJ Stein, executive director for Cienega, said this year is very important to the halls because they are setting the standard for years to come.

"It's the first year so we want to make it the best year," said Stein, a pre-pharmacy freshman.

Residents were glad that their hall is finally recognized and are glad that they are becoming a part of campus.

"We're not just he new ones anymore. This will gain us some recognition and bring us to campus a little more," said Stacy Leeds, pre-business sophomore and Cienega resident.

Miriam Gurevich, a molecular and cellular biology sophomore and Cienega resident, said she liked that the halls came together for the event.

"We should have more things like this to bring the dorms together, plus it's always good to bring food and music together," Gurevich said.

Ryan Profiri, an engineering freshman and Cienega resident, said he had fun at the event and looks forward to more in the future.

"It's way cool to have interaction among the halls with loud music," Profiri said.

Stein said this is not the last of events like this. The hall governments are working hard to put on more events to engage residents.

Cienega will have a battle of the sexes, Halloween decorating contest and kids from Casa De Los Ninos will trick-or-treat in the halls this month, Stein said.

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