February 21, 2024

Taylor Swift will never go out of style at CBU, as the Swiftie-themed karaoke night was a smash hit for students. Community Life hosted the event on Jan. 12 and it was nothing short of a concert. 

According to Jamie Eriksen, director of Campus Activities, Community Life conceived the idea when discussing how to create a cozy environment for new and returning students at the beginning of the semester. 

“Maybe people in the fall didn’t have a chance to connect with people and so we’re trying to create new opportunities for them to connect with people,” Eriksen said. “What better way than to have a karaoke night where, whether you wanted to sing or come and hang out and just laugh and enjoy the music together? It’s such a neat way to bring the community together over music.” 

The Eras Tour, beginning in March of last year and ending in December, was not only Swift’s largest tour but the highest-grossing tour of all time, earning $1 billion. According to People’s Entertainment, the concerts were over three hours long and included songs from each of her 10 studio albums, making the tour accessible to anyone who likes her music. 

Community Life aimed to capture the ongoing popularity by facilitating their own Eras Karaoke Night for students to relive their favorite Taylor Swift albums. 

The staff transformed the lounge to create the perfect arena-type setting. Eriksen shared that their interns rearranged the furniture and utilized colorful decorations to mimic a laidback environment.

“Obviously, with Taylor Swift, lots of sparkles, a disco ball, glow necklaces and bracelets,” Eriksen said. “We wanted it to feel homey but with a fun spin on that. Foodwise, we did some fun things where we had some fun snacks for people there as well.”

The snacks consisted of fresh donuts, pizza and an assortment of drinks. Eriksen stated that they chose these foods so students would feel like they were hanging out at their friend’s house. This also inspired another activity where students had the opportunity to make friendship bracelets, inspired by the popularity of Swifties trading bracelets at the actual concert.

“Community Life did a good job of organizing the event [by] adding the small but perfect touch of friendship bracelet-making stations, an homage to the trend made popular from the tour,” said Madison Head, senior creative writing major.

Swift appeals to all fan bases and the CommLife Lounge was brimming with both men and women throughout the night. 

“It was really neat to see that there’s a lot of guys who are Taylor Swift fans also who knew the music, who were excited about the music, who were singing and dancing,” Eriksen said. “They were on the stage, too. Even though some people might have assumptions about the type of event, it was neat to see everybody there.”

Elijah Cole, junior film major, shared how exciting it was to bond with like-minded people. 

“Even though I have an absolutely awful voice, the mood in the building was so electric. I still enjoyed myself as I stumbled through my voice cracks while I sang ‘Red,’” Cole said.

Head shared the same sentiment and said she felt like the energy was similar to that of an actual Taylor Swift concert.

“Even though we were not planning on it, my friends and I sang two different karaoke songs on the stage,” Head said. “When we were not on the stage, we sang and jammed in our seats. It was such a joyous atmosphere where everyone wanted everyone else to have fun and feel free to dance and sing however they wanted. It was especially fun when little moments and chants from the Eras Tour were equally as loud and passionate in the small Community Life Lounge as they were in the SoFi stadium. I felt connected to everyone in that room, even though I had never met and may never interact again with most people there.”

Sofia Guzman Katelyn Marley, freshman behavioral science major, sings “You’re on your own kid” by Taylor Swift at Community Life’s Eras Karaoke Night.

Eriksen acknowledged that the decision to do a Taylor Swift-themed event arose from how relevant the artist is right now. By collaborating with her student workers, she determined it would align with student interests.

“I think a lot of times with Community Life, we’re always not only looking for ways to bring people together but bring people together around things that are culturally interesting right now, and I think whether you’re a Taylor Swift fan or not, she’s an interesting cultural phenomenon happening right now,” Eriksen said. “We thought it would be a fun way to tap into something that is kind of a big deal.” 

Cole also touched upon this and stated that this was timely, as Taylor Swift is still performing music across the world.  

“I absolutely loved this event and would be thrilled to see it come back,” Cole said. “It was a great moment of bringing the community together, mingling and sharing our common interests. However, I can see that changing year by year. This past year has definitely been dominated by Taylor Swift. It may be that an event like this would be less popular come a year like 2025 or 2026. However, I suppose that’s a bridge to cross once it has appeared.”

Eriksen stated that Community Life constantly works to innovate and create events that resonate with the student body. 

“For us, it’s super important with our 12 student leaders that we work with that we’re always having these conversations with them about what students want. We really want what we do to be a reflection of what students desire for creating community, too,” Eriksen said. 

It’s safe to say the Eras Karaoke Night was something from a Swiftie’s wildest dreams.

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