Sweaty people, loud music and painful flirting. These are the tell-tale signs of the generic Provo dance party. However, “The Gatsby,” a house just south of campus, is trying to change this stereotype one event at a time.
Brandon Beck, a BYU student who lives in The Gatsby, said the house throws parties they hope offer more than those found in the typical Provo scene.
“The whole reason we throw parties is we feel there are so many cliche Provo dance parties with everyone in a circle in someone’s apartment,” Beck said. “Our initial approach was to give Provo some culture and exposure to more than just dancing.”
This past weekend the house hosted Gatsbystock, a celebration of the end of the summer and the beginning of summer. The event provided the audience with live music, the promotion of a local company and awareness of the charitable organization Sowers of Hope, which helps build schools in conflict areas of the world.
“The fact they’re involved with education was something that interested me,” Beck said. “I think education is the most empowering form of charity.”
James Brown, a BYU student studying international relations, is an adviser to the executive director and council member to the board of directors for Sowers of Hope.
Sowers of Hope specifically works in the DR Congo helping build schools through fundraising and volunteer work in places like Provo, especially BYU.
“The reason there’s a lot of attention from BYU is because the work is all volunteer-based and a lot of those volunteers happen to be from BYU,” Brown said
Logan Bird, a sophomore studying Latin American studies with an interest in international business, attended Gatsbystock as a representative for Lyke Watches, a locally based company created and run by students.
Lyke Watches agreed to donate a portion of profits made at the event to Sowers of Hope and hosted a drawing for visitors who donated.
“Of course we support the cause,” Bird said. “We heard about an opportunity to raise money for a foundation that helps build schools in Africa and got involved … it’s a good opportunity to get some recognition and support a good cause.”
A.J. Swartwood, who also lives at The Gatsby, said parties like Gatsbystock can help bring opportunities like this to Provo residents.
“The reality is the dance party scene is a dime a dozen,” Swartwood said. “Don’t get me wrong, I like to get jiggy with it as much as someone else, but we like to have a little more culture and activities. Gatsbystock is kind of a culmination of everything and if you can help a good cause while you’re having an event, you might as well.”