The Residence Hall Association’s annual Winter Ball was held this past Saturday, February 16 in Woodrow Wilson Hall which ran from 8:00 pm until 12:00 am. Students from all different majors attended the sold-out event.
As students began pouring in for the festivities, they were greeted with pulsing dance music and a colored laser light display, which bathed the mansion in a glowing purple hue. An assortment of white couches, stools, and a hand-full of tables awaited the crowd further into the building, keeping with the “cocktail party” theme that the RHA was aiming for, while also providing much needed room for socializing and dancing for the many of students in attendance.
Eric Mochnacz, RHA supervisor and Pier Village area coordinator, mentions that the organization was a little worried about how the students might react to the ball’s change in format from a sit-down type dinner to a cocktail party. “Without having the built in dinner break, students were still able to dance and lounge around or if they wanted or they could go and eat.”
Mochnacz continued, “We wanted to make sure that we could have higher attendance with a lesser cost to the student. So, in effect, RHA ended up assuming a majority of the cost for event, whereas in years past, students covered the cost of their meal with ticket sales. We reduced the price for tickets, so that it would appeal to a larger population, while assuming a larger cost for the organization.”
He goes on to note that because of these price changes and cost coverings that made the chance of no Winter Ball a real threat. “However, we had the full support for University Administration in the change, including Vice President Mary Anne Nagy, who without her never ending support, the event may have never happened,” states Mochnaz.
All of the planning and risks paid off in the end. During the beginning portion of the event, black-clothed waiters navigated the furniture scattered around the floor with hors’deurves on silver platters, ranging from popcorn chicken to miniature crab cakes to even tomato soup shooters. This was all for students to pick at until the buffet was opened, which held an assortment of foods from a build-your-own hamburger slider station, to a macaroni and cheese bar and even a Chinese food station where classic favorites like vegetable low mien awaited.
Sophomore Dominick Mascitelli believed that the finger food and buffet was a good, creative idea, but overall would have preferred an actual sit down dinner similar to the ones at the previous Winter Balls.
Keeping in theme with all of the past RHA Winter Ball events was the dancing. After all of the guests were done eating, the real dancing came out as the floor quickly filled.
Sticking to club-like music and dance remixes, the trio of DJs running the show kept the crowd going with shouts of encouragement and even coming from behind the booth to dance with the other students.
While the classic party favorites of the “Cha Cha Slide,” “Cotton-eye Joe” and “Cupid Shuffle” were played, the real songs that drove students to dance their hardest were Korean pop sensation Psi’s “Gangnam Style” and Macklemore’s wildly popular song “Thift Shop”; a song which several students were chanting ever since the dancing commenced.
While there was plenty of room for people to bust a move and dance to their heart’s content, there was also enough space for those who chose not to get their daily intake of aerobic activity via hip-shaking. The couches provided permitted for a place to sit down and chat with friends, or simply a cool way to sip on virgin blue electric lemonades from the free drink bar.
As the final songs were played and the dance floor began to lose its audience to time and fatigue, everyone started giving hugs “good-bye,” taking those final pictures and picking up the high heels rejected within the first half-hour of the ball-all signaling an end to the night.
Mochnacz notes the pride he felt in his organization for taking risks and chances this year and how the executive board was even recognized by the student body for a job well done. He said, “Throughout the night, students kept going up to the Residence Hall Association Executive Board saying that it was the best they had ever attended and they were having such a good time. The dance floor was crowded for the majority of the night, which is what RHA was hoping for and students seemed to love the food and ambience. Although RHA had worked incredibly hard, if the students didn’t like it, we wouldn’t have accomplished our goal. Luckily, they loved it though, so RHA really considered Winter Ball 2013 incredibly successful.”
Although this year’s semi-formal was a different take on the traditional arrangement of a ball, sophomore Marcie Licker admits that she personally would have preferred the seating to be arranged in a more formal manner, as it was last year, but that overall she still enjoyed the experience as a whole; a notion that most would agree with considering the laughs and smiles they left with.
Sophomore Courtney Carr said, “It is the greatest event that happens on campus. I look forward to it every year because RHA does such a wonderful job putting the whole thing together. It was such a great night, one that I will never forget.”
PHOTO COURTESY of Jessica Calabro