Sunny Side Up: Suitcase Social winners sent to Orlando, Fla.

While most people spent last weekend stuck in Peoria, junior nursing major Katy Bednarczyk was in Florida relaxing by a heated pool. Bednarczyk and her guest, junior Learning Behavior major Anna Strubhar, won a trip to Florida last Friday night at Suitcase Social.

Suitcase Social is an annual event sponsored by the Association of Resident Halls. Each year, ARH picks a different location for the winners to travel to.

“Residents in the residence halls sign up [for Suitcase Social] during lunch and are able to put oneself and a Bradley guest of their choice in a raffle,” President of ARH Abi Vogel said. “ARH then randomly picks a pair and they win a trip out of state for free. The location is a surprise until the end of the event when the winners are chosen. From the event, they are driven to the airport and then whisked away to their location.”

Bednarczyk and Strubhar, along with the other hopeful participants, had to pack a suitcase prior to the event, despite the fact that the destination was unknown. This year, the trip location was Orlando, Fla.

“Anna and I were so shocked that we were going to Florida,” said Bednarczyk. “This kind of thing always happens to other people but not us. When they announced my name I started screaming and jumping up and down and I literally ran around Lydia’s lounge and hugged a poor random resident of University Hall.”

Bednarczyk said she and Strubhar left Bradley at 11 p.m. that night and arrived at Midway Airport at 2:30 a.m. to catch a 5:30 a.m. flight.

“I packed all things warm because I didn’t think ARH would send us to a cold location after suffering the weather in Peoria,” she said.

Bednarczyk said they mainly relaxed and enjoyed the warmer weather while in Orlando.

“We stayed at the Renaissance Hotel at Sea World,” she said. “Anna and I went to Sea World and pet dolphins, sting rays and also watched an amazing dolphin and whale show, and got splashed by them. It was crazy. After Sea World, we hung out by the pool enjoying the 75-degree weather. We also got luxurious Swedish massages at our hotel and had an Italian Dinner at Delmonico’s.”

Even though the duration of the trip was only one weekend, Bednardczyk said she had a great time.

“We spent a total of 12 hours in Florida so we did not do as much as we nearly wanted, but were super thankful for this opportunity to have a nice break from Peoria and studying,” she said.