"Star Wars" Day, a decade-long tradition at the University of New Mexico, continues with virtual events to celebrate this year’s “May the Fourth be with you.”
On May 4, there will be two main activities: a craft session with stormtroopers and a free movie available to stream all day.
Free craft kits have been available for students to pick up prior to the event, and kits picked up on select days had special "Star Wars" cookies included. The last opportunity for students to get a craft kit will be on May 4 in the Student Union Building. Printable coloring pages are also available online.
The movie being streamed on May 4 is “Fanboys,” a movie about dedicated Star Wars fans taking their sick friend on a trip across the country to see “Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace” before its release. Students that stream the movie will be entered for a chance to win an iPad, sponsored by Xfinity.
“This is always an event that happens almost during dead week or pre-finals week, so we don’t want to have it to be a huge time commitment for students and we want to provide an opportunity for students to just have a little bit of fun and kind of geek out over the things they really enjoy,” Andrea Marquez, student activities advisor, said.
UNM student Tyrell Bruce said he would be in attendance at the event and is excited for a relaxing activity amid a stressful week.
“I just want to have some fun because it’s right in the middle of dead week so I think I could use a break around that time,” Bruce said.
Stormtroopers from the NM 501st Legion will be attending the online event, continuing their tradition of making an appearance at this recurring UNM celebration.
“There is nothing quite like a group of stormtroopers to bring attention to an event,” the Legion’s website says. “Unlike individual entertainers, the 501st Legion functions as a group creating a true science-fiction/fantasy ambience with a wide range of professional-grade costumes and props.”
Marquez said because the event is being hosted virtually, it’s more personal and students can interact easily with the stormtroopers.
“It’s an opportunity for students to do something that they wouldn’t normally be able to do at the in-person event, which is actually talk to the person who’s behind that costume,” Marquez said.
Bruce said the online format allows the event to be more accessible but also has its downsides, such as the necessity for a stable internet connection.
“The virtual format allows people to be in attendance no matter where they are in the world … (Virtual format is) very interesting to say the least,” Bruce said.
Bruce noted that the "Star Wars" community is very friendly and said he is eager to meet new people since he hasn’t had many chances to do so during the pandemic.
“It would be nice to meet some other 'Star Wars' fans, like maybe make some new friends for the first time in a year,” Bruce said.
The event is open to anyone, regardless of if you’re a "Star Wars" fan or not.
“If you like to be crafty and you want to do some crafts and de-stress while you’re studying for finals, (there’s) a coloring page,” Marquez said. “You can color that character any way you like — you don’t need to know even what movie that character came from. So it’s just kind of a fun way, I think, to be a little bit creative and use your brain in a different way when students are kind of stressed with finals and stuff like that.”
Marquez said she still has hand-made lightsabers from last year’s event on her desk.
“I really enjoy and really love seeing students be creative at these events,” Marquez said. “There’s always some sort of craft component in our events.”
In the future, Marquez said she hopes the event can be hosted in person again with more of the physical activities they used to offer, such as the photobooth or the New Mexico Lego Users Group.
“Hopefully we’re in a safer spot to be able to do that — to stand right next to your friend, put your arms around them and hold a lightsaber together,” Marquez said.
Megan Gleason is the Editor-in-Chief of the Daily Lobo. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @fabflutist2716