Red eyes open

First Posted: 9/27/2014

A bottle of water, a box of Whales crackers, a package of Oreos, gum, Airheads candy and Tootsie Pops filled a small sack, which Baptist Bible College (BBC) Student Body President Scott Cleveland referred to Friday evening as his “survival pack.”

But the Carbondale native would need more than a sugar boost to make it through the night as a volunteer at the school’s second annual Red Eye High School All-nighter event, hosting over 200 teens. His real survival pack was not a bag of junk food, but his and the other volunteers’ passion for God.

“We love Jesus,” he said, “and, in turn, we love people. And we want to have fun because of those two things.”

Cleveland views each of the 214 high school students registered for the event as someone new to meet and learn about. He described the atmosphere of Red Eye as “fun, energetic and high paced.”

One student, Hannah Roe, of Clarks Summit, said this atmosphere is what she enjoyed most about the event.

“It’s the energy,” she said, “and there’s a lot of people, so that’s fun.”

This year’s attendance more than doubled from last year, according to Kris Schill, Coordinator of Campus Guest Experience at BBC. She said high school students visited from as far away as West Virginia and Maryland, as well as Pennsylvania and New York.

“We’re so excited,” she said.

The event, hosted by the BBC Admissions staff, with the help of 130 BBC student volunteers, began at 8 p.m. on Sept. 26 and ended at 6 a.m. the next morning. Attendees were divided into six teams, which competed against each other in games and activities such as a photo scavenger hunt, basketball, giant ball volleyball, soccer, dodge-ball, nucome, a 30-foot blow up obstacle course, an eating competition, pizza and more.

Several local vendors donated prizes for the event, including Quaker Steak and Lube, Moe’s, Applebees, Red Robin and Uno Pizzeria and Grill.

BBC T-shirts and souvenirs were offered for sale, along with a large supply of water bottles, coffee from the Underground Cafe on campus, energy drinks, candy bars and other snacks.

But the event wasn’t only about the sugar and caffeine-generated hype, games or even fun times with friends. BBC graduate Luke Peterson returned to speak to the students about the Bible during an “Eye Opener” time a couple hours into the night.

The purpose of the event, Schill said, was to “get students on campus and show them the love of Christ.”

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