’90s kids celebrate their decade at ‘1999’ party
By Jeannette Cruz
GCU News Bureau
It didn’t matter that the line stretched from outside Grand Canyon University Arena and through Lopes Way on Friday night …
It didn’t matter that they were sticky and sweaty …
And it certainly didn’t matter that they had to wait longer after the Arena reached its capacity within the first half-hour …
Dressed in cuffed high-waist jeans, tattoo chokers, flannel shirts, rainbow colors, sassy socks and oversized jerseys, students joined the free-flowing excitement of an event that welcomed the University’s last class of ’90s babies – that was the bottom line. Students were ready for “Party Like It’s 1999.”
But Justina Etukudoh, a junior and an RA at GCU, said she was not at all surprised by the large crowds of students.
“Everyone wants to celebrate being a ’90s kid,” she said.
In front of her, freshman Brody Nguyen exuded energy. He danced for his friends in his long-sleeve, striped Polo and overalls.
“I just love how much fun and insanity the week has been,” Nguyen said. “I thought I would be missing home by now, but I’m not.”
Nguyen even shared details about his outfit and explained how he had helped put together an outfit for his friend, Brooke McNamara, and let her borrow his tee.
Nguyen wasn’t the only one impressed with the energy and spirit at GCU.
“There’s already so much hype out here,” freshman Kay Scott said. “I can only imagine it’ll be just as loud and vibrant inside.”
Inside, students danced the night away in a live-band music scene with flashing neon lights. In addition to tributes to Ricky Martin, Britney Spears, ‘N Sync and the “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” theme song, there was also a dedicated throwback to ’90s candy and junk food – from Fruit Roll-ups to Ring Pops, Gushers and candy necklaces – to satisfy any sweet tooth inside GCU Arena.
There also was a mix of nostalgia, reminiscence and opinionated ’90s kids.
“I think when we think about what makes up the ’90s we think about all of the TV shows we grew up watching (like “Cat Dog” and “Good Burger”) and the music we listened to and the way we dressed …” Scott said. “I don’t think it’s something the 2000s kids will understand. They’re bringing back the things we liked.”
“To me being a ’90s kid means that I cherish and value good music,” Etukudoh said. “Us ’90s kids are classic, raw and authentic.”
“We’re spontaneous,” Mickayla Cullum said. “A lot of us like to speak our minds, and we’re all about freedom of expression.”
Others described the ’90s as smooth, fashionable, funky-fresh and scrunchy-central.
Sydney Grover, a Canyon Activities Board team member, said the key to “Party Like It’s 1999” was to bring together all students, both commuters and campus residents, and create a sense of belonging.
“Nostalgia is the thing nowadays,” Grover said. “Everybody wants to go back to when they were a kid, and ‘Party Like It’s 1999’ allows students not only to go back but also come together as a family.”
After a few comical and dramatic dance-offs to music from Whitney Houston and Alicia Keys, students Dashawn Smith and Rohm Cormier admitted tSydo having met just hours before the event. On the dance floor, no one would have ever guessed.
“That’s the connection to dancing,” Cormier said. “It’s honorable to know that this is our last dance dedicated to being a ’90s kid – might as well make the best of it.”
“The goal was to come in, get loose and have fun …” Smith said. “I’ve never had a crowd actually come up and surround me. I brought in ‘The Carlton,’ ‘The Forest,’ ‘The Dougie’ … tonight has been special to me.”
Contact Jeannette Cruz at (602) 639-6631 or firstname.lastname@example.org.