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Traditional dance reinstated at Saint Mary’s

Kaitlyn Rabach | Monday, November 4, 2013

On Saturday, Saint Mary’s Student Government Association (SGA) hosted the third Navy Dance in College history to honor long-standing traditions between Saint Mary’s and the Naval Academy, senior class vice president Susie Larson said.
The dance, which was held from 9 p.m. to 12 p.m. in the Angela Athletic Center, was planned by sophomore, junior and senior class boards and 150 Saint Mary’s women and 127 Midshipmen attended the event, Larson said.
“Saint Mary’s has a special history with the Naval Academy,” Larson said. “The history is particularly special with Saint Mary’s student nurses serving in various wars. … The Navy Dance is a gracious extension of our history. It is a simple way to express appreciation with what these guys and young women who have decided to make such a big commitment at such a young age.
“[Serving] is such a big commitment. If [the Midshipmen] are on leave, they don’t have schedule on the yard. So, if they are on leave weekend and we can provide a little fun for them, we definitely should seize the opportunity.”
Nicole O’Toole, junior class president, said she received positive feedback from both Saint Mary’s women and Midshipmen.
“At least five or six Midshipmen came up to us at the end of the dance and said how much they appreciated us putting it on,” O’Toole said. “One came up to me and said, ‘This was really awesome. We don’t have anything like this at school.’ Overall, I think the Midshipmen really loved the experience.”
O’Toole said hearing this positive feedback was especially reassuring because of the many obstacles her and other members of the council of class boards had to clear to organize the event.
Preliminary talks of the dance began in August, but O’Toole said no plans could be confirmed until the council of class boards received approval from the Senate.
“We started talking about the dance over the summer, but when we got back to school we needed to get the approval of Senate before we went ahead with any plans,” O’Toole said. “This was especially difficult because we had to wait for the new Senate to be elected. In the end, though, we were happy to see the Senate unanimously voted in favor of the dance.”
Junior Class Vice President Emmi Scanlon said when the council proposed their plans the only major concern regarding the dance had to do with funding. In the end, she said the dance actually made $1,100 in profit, which was split between the senior, junior and sophomore classes.
Originally, O’Toole said board members envisioned the dance to host about 800 Saint Mary’s women and midshipmen. In these plans the dance was set to be off-campus, she said.
“That original plan was not able to pass because we weren’t able to figure out how to get the Midshipmen off-campus and we were also working under a time constraint,” O’Toole said. “It would have cost more and SAB [Student Activities Board] was initially going to help out with the cost, but due to SGA regulations SAB was not allowed to co-host an off-campus event with us. This then led us to having to host the dance on campus.”
These changes, accompanied with RSVPs from only a little over 100 Midshipmen, led the class board council to limit the amount of Saint Mary’s tickets to 150, O’Toole said. This decision resulted in many negative responses from the student body, she said.
“Almost 500 Saint Mary’s girls RSVP’d to the dance on Orgsync,” O’Toole said. “This RSVP was only to gauge interest for the event and when it came to buying tickets those who RSVP’d were given priority over those who didn’t. Still, only 150 girls got tickets and I received a lot of emails and texts the next day from girls who were mad they did not receive tickets.”
Larson said she would have loved to give every Saint Mary’s woman the chance to buy a ticket, but unfortunately the class board councils’ hands were tied and they had to limit the number of tickets available.
“Knowing there would be exponentially less Midshipmen there [if we let all 500 Saint Mary’s women attend] we wanted to make the ratio was relatively 50/50,” Larson said. “We thought 150 Saint Mary’s tickets would be a good selling point.”
First-year student Alaina Anderson said she RSVP’d to express interest in the event and was disappointed when she waited in line and was told the tickets were sold out.
“I know someone from the Naval Academy that I haven’t seen in a long time and I would have enjoyed the opportunity to be with him at the dance,” Anderson said. “I guess I was just a little disappointed about the way things were organized. Especially because I RSVP’d and still wasn’t able to get a ticket.”
O’Toole said the limited number of tickets available prompted some students to offer their ticket for resale to other Saint Mary’s students for a higher cost than the original $10 price.
“We received word from our advisors that some girls were looking to resell their tickets for [more than] the original cost,” O’Toole said. “This is illegal and against College policy.”
Overall, Larson said the event was successful and she hopes future class boards will continue the tradition.
“Even though I am a senior it was really cool to see a lot of freshmen and sophomores attend the event and really get this ball rolling again,” Larson said. “I hope these students keep these connections with the Midshipmen and host the dance in the future.”
Fourth Class Midshipmen Nathon Markon agreed with Larson’s wish to continue the tradition in years to come.
“I had a lot of fun at the dance and met some really cool Saint Mary’s women,” Markon said. “We play at Notre Dame every other year, we just swap home and away, so I guess if Saint Mary’s wanted to have a dance every time we come by to Notre Dame, every two years, it would be nice.”