One recent Friday around midnight, Dedman Center for Lifetime Sports was jumping. On one basketball court, students danced to a live band. On another, they jousted, wrestled and crashed through an inflatable obstacle course. Several students cycled to karaoke, while others raced up the climbing tower.

The students were participating in SMU Gladiators, a new event sponsored by the Department of Recreational Sports and one of several late- night programs launched this year across campus.

“Tonight is a real change of pace,” said Angeline Nguyen, a junior who was trying her hand at a beanbag toss. “This event is bringing people of all different backgrounds together on campus.”

As part of its Task Force on Substance Abuse Prevention, the University this year extended the hours at Dedman Center and Hughes-Trigg Student Center, where activities and gathering spaces also are being expanded. In addition to the Gladiators event, late-night programs have included midnight movies, a dance marathon and Café Jazz, featuring Meadows School of the Arts Dean José Bowen and his band.

“The goal is to make the campus a center of activity at night and on weekends,” says Lori White, vice president for Student Affairs. “Students need opportunities to unwind and build relationships with faculty, staff and peers.”

A grant fund, overseen by a committee of students, staff and faculty, has been established to help support late-night activities initiated by students that are open and free to the entire campus. Richard Owens, committee chair and Hughes-Trigg director, says, “We want to help fund students’ efforts to organize gatherings that offer fun without the social pressures.”

To learn about supporting student programs, please contact Associate Director of Development Arlene Manthey at 214-768-4711 or e-mail