Air Jam celebrates Ball State's 100th anniversary with centennial-related performances
From Earth, Wind & Fire’s “September” to Drake’s “In My Feelings,” songs from the past century roared through Emens Auditorium Thursday night as 20 acts took the stage in hopes of winning Air Jam, Ball State’s annual lip-syncing and dancing competition.
As Ball State celebrates its 100th anniversary, Air Jam is celebrating its 31st year as part of Ball State’s Homecoming Week festivities. These weren’t the only benchmarks achieved, however.
For the 10th year in a row, Outlet was named Air Jam’s Overall Champion.
“It’s amazing, this is our 10th year winning Air Jam in a row,” Outlet’s President Lauren Matan said. “So it’s really big for us to make it to 10 [wins] … We worked really hard to make [our performance] the best we could make it.”
Overall Winner: Outlet
Crowd favorite: Alpha Gamma Delta & Phi Delta Theta
Resident Hall Winner: Brayton/Clevenger
Independent Winner: Outlet
Independent Runner Up: University Singers
Greek Winner: Pi Beta Phi & Alpha Tau Omega
Greek Runner Up: Alpha Gamma Delta & Phi Delta Theta
Matan said additional practices were added to Outlet’s regular schedule in preparation for the competition, a tactic that was used by other teams as well.
A team comprised of the Exercise Science Club and ROTC entered the competition for the first time this year and added a practice from 9-11 p.m. Monday-Thursday on top of their 5 a.m. physical training to ready themselves for the competition.
A total of 10 performances by Greek organizations, one Residence Hall act and nine independent acts participated and were judged by a panel of six Ball State alumni. Performances were scored based on how well they related to this year’s Homecoming theme, “The Celebration of the Century.”
Homecoming Committee President Hannah Fluhler said Air Jam’s judges are past Air Jam dancers, former Ball State faculty members, and “previous [Ball State] cheerleaders and Muncie natives.”
First implemented last year for acts interested in competing, Air Jam Committee Chair Kennedy Belangee said the committee used a public lottery drawing. The drawing allowed only 20 acts to compete in Air Jam because in past years, teams had to camp out in order to secure a spot for the competition.
Each year, acts compete in one of three categories: Residence Hall, Independent or Greek organizations. Competing acts also have the opportunity to win “Crowd Favorite” or “Overall Winner” of Air Jam.
Carson Dunkley, a dancer with the Exercise Science Club and ROTC group, said “hands down” Air Jam is his favorite part of Homecoming. Dunkley said the competition has been his “favorite experience” at Ball State so far.
“You know, there is no other experience [that compares to] being on stage in Emens,” Dunkley said. “It’s packed, and the crowd is crazy. I’m excited for everyone else to have the experience I have had the past one or two years.”