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Saint Mary’s upperclassmen flock to “Black and White Ball”

| Monday, December 3, 2018

Saint Mary’s drew up to 700 students to the Hilton Garden Inn near campus Friday night for the College’s junior and senior winter formal.

Junior Emily Beam, president of the Formal Committee, said in an email that the event was themed “Black and White Ball” because “everything looked so elegant and classy.”

“We figured it would be easy to accomplish with a small budget and nice venue,” she said. “[Junior] Grace [Kelly, senior] Sam [Schickel] and I just really wanted to do something original.”

Beam said she oversaw all the decision-making and logistics that went into planning an event of this caliber.

“I started working with my vice presidents, Grace Kelly and Sam Schickel, at the end of last spring and we made it our goal to have the basic details of the dance already planned before meeting with our committee in the fall,” Beam said. “We searched venues, thought of themes and picked out potential dates before starting school this year. All the other details and ideas came from our committee members.”

Since this is one of the only formals Saint Mary’s hosts, Beam said it was important to her to make the event work for everyone.

“Personally, I feel a lot of pressure to try and make this event perfect since it’s one of the events that our student body looks forward to all year,” she said. “We had enough help from administration, our underclassmen committee members and chaperones so that there wasn’t too much work that needed done during the dance.”

During the ticket sales for the formal in October, students believed the event was open to all Saint Mary’s students, not just upperclassmen. Beam said this was because she was told that the committee was required to plan one big formal for the entire school.

“After a lot discussion, we got the approval from administration to have two formals in order to give more students the opportunity to attend the dance,” she said.

As a result, Saint Mary’s underclassmen will have the opportunity to attend their own formal in the spring.

Though it was meant to make the events more inclusive, some students expressed disappointment with the scheduling change.

Sophomore Jo Ward said she will not get the opportunity to attend her formal now since she will be studying abroad next semester.

“I was a little upset since [my girlfriend and I] are both going to be abroad next semester and we won’t be able to attend this year’s underclassmen formal,” she said. “Especially since they had the date in place for a little while, so when they changed it I was taken aback.”

Ticket sales sold out quickly — students who did not purchase their tickets immediately after they went on sale did not receive one. However, Beam said she feels everyone who wanted a ticket eventually got one.

“Tickets always sell out quickly,” Beam said. “We have an allotted number that we’re allowed to sell due to fire codes and room capacity of the venue. This year we sold roughly 700 tickets — by 5 p.m. on the first day of ticket sales, I think we sold 487 tickets. We always allow girls to return their tickets and when tickets are returned, someone else can buy them. I think the majority of people who wanted to go got tickets and were able to attend the event.”

Junior Kirsten Sherman said although she had fun at formal, she felt like the theme fell short.

“No one actually wore black and white, and the space didn’t play to the theme,” she said.

Rumors have spread that this will be the last year Saint Mary’s hosts a formal or formals, but Beam said those comments are unfounded.

“There’s always rumors that this will be ‘the last’ Saint Mary’s formal,” she said. “The reality of it is that it’s up to the student body. If we want to keep having this dance year after year, it’s important that we be respectful and follow the rules put in place by administration.”

From a student perspective, Beam said she loves formal because it is a special night she gets to celebrate with her friends. From an event-planning perspective, she said formal is a way to see her hard work come to life.

Beam said Saint Mary’s formal is a tradition that should be respected so that future generations can enjoy the event as well.

“I think this dance went way better than we were anticipating, so now it’s really up to the underclassmen to present themselves in a proper manner so that the tradition can continue,” she said.

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About Gina Twardosz

Gina Twardosz is a junior English Writing and Communication Studies double major at Saint Mary's College. She writes for SMC News and is a tried and true Midwesterner.

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