Every spring, thousands of high schoolers enjoy their prom nights before entering the next stage of their lives post-graduation. Prom lock-ins are becoming a popular activity to ensure students can enjoy their prom night in a safe, fun environment.
Austin Peay State University (APSU) University Recreation has taken advantage of this trend, hosting prom lock-ins for multiple local high schools over the last few years.
David Davenport, the director of University Recreation at APSU, shares below on the ins and outs of hosting lock-ins:
Can you share how the idea for University Recreation to host prom lock-ins first came about?
DD: It first came about with one of the local high schools approaching us and wanting to do something different for students after prom was over. In the past, many schools would charter buses and send the prom goers to Nashville, Tennessee, which is over 40 miles away, for prom and activities. This group wanted to do prom locally. They asked us if they could use our space and if we had any ideas for kids to have fun in a safe environment while getting a college experience in our setting.
How many schools participate, and how many years have you hosted lock-ins?
DD: We consistently had at least two schools for about five years prior to COVID-19. The year COVID-19 appeared, we had about five of the eight local schools in the works.
Describe your lock-in offerings and setup. What are the activities, how many workers, what’s available for attendees, etc?
DD: We basically allowed the school planners, who are mostly parents, to plan what they wanted. But we gave them options of using the gym courts for volleyball, basketball and dancing. In total, they had three courts to choose from and could also play racquetball.
They could also use the conference room for movies and PlayStation games, and the group fitness stations for board games and other types of group activities.
From about 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., the kids could roam from space to space and partake in whatever was going on in those rooms. One of the studios which was away from the others was used as a rest/nap room, but no one really utilized it.
The parents used the lobby to have snacks and cook pancakes during the early morning hours. The parents monitored the rooms and when a kid was ready to leave that their parents were aware and/or they had safe means to do so.
How has hosting these lock-ins benefitted University Recreation?
DD: It was strictly a revenue generator for us, but it turned out to be a recruitment tool for us as well as it gauged the kids on the kinds of activities they were looking forward to when they came to college.
What advice/tips could you provide other campus rec departments that also want to host lock-ins?
DD: Allow groups to plan what they want and allow them to manage, staff and patrol. Provide the space, equipment and staffing if needed, at cost of course.
Want more updates and information on community outreach strategies for your department? Sign up for a digital subscription here.