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RHA and SAB Host First Winter Ball Since COVID-19

Monmouth’s Residence Hall Association (RHA) and Student Activities Board (SAB) co-hosted its first Winter Ball since 2020 in the Great Hall on Saturday, Feb. 11.

Pre-pandemic, Winter Ball was an annual event hosted by the RHA. This was the first year SAB was involved in planning.

“The very first Winter Ball was held in the late 1990s right here on campus. This year’s event was that much more special since the breakout of COVID-19, and it’s the first one in collaboration with Students Activities Board,” confirmed Dess Montgomery, Area Coordinator for the Department of Residential Life and RHA Advisor.

According to advisors, student-organizers, and participants of the ball, the event was a huge comeback for the time-honored tradition.

“From what I saw, everything went extremely well, especially the ticket sales and final production. Everyone had fun,” concurred Grace Frederick, Co-President of RHA. The RHA and SAB sold over 250 tickets to Winter Ball.

Aidan McLaughlin, also Area Coordinator for the Department of Residential Life and RHA Advisor, attributed much of the event’s success to the student-leaders of RHA and SAB.

“As the staff, we facilitated and helped the students execute their vision for Winter Ball; the students ran with it, and the staff was there to support, ensuring the event would go on without a hitch,” began McLaughlin. “It was a huge success because of the time and effort put in by the students.”

Nicole Lowden, Associate Director of Student Engagement for Transitions and Leadership and SAB advisor, agreed, “Their vision was supported by all the hard work they were willing to put behind the event.”

Vaughn Staiger, Co-President of RHA, discussed the process of getting Winter Ball ready.

“Before we could even begin looking at vendors, we had to decide what we wanted Winter Ball to look like, which included everything that made the ball a smash— from the theme, to food, to dress code,” started Staiger.

Frederick explained that they had eventually decided and developed a “Winter Wonderland” theme for the ball.

According to Staiger, RHA met with SAB in early December to discuss how to execute the event. This required research into cendors. “We then did a lot of research into vendors for décor, DJ, and even the beloved photo booth. By the end of January, we had ordered everything that made the ball spectacular!” Staiger added.

“The digital photo booth, awesome DJ, and food made Winter Ball so much fun! The students were able to dance with their friends, hang out and eat a variety of foods, and enjoy the Great Hall,” emphasized Megan Pagliettini, President of SAB.

McLaughlin elaborated, “I believe the students enjoyed Winter Ball because some of them may have missed out on prom-like event because of the pandemic. We were so happy to provide that experience in a college setting; It was a perfect distraction from an extremely busy spring semester.”

“This also gave the campus community an opportunity to enjoy the spaces around campus that are normally reserved for academics. With the Great Hall as Winter Ball’s location, it allowed students to enjoy all the historic elements the building has to offer,” continued Pagliettini.

While the event was successful, Morganna Vasquez, Secretary for SAB, advised that planning should begin sooner for next year’s Winter Ball.

She said, “Although the setup was stressful, everything went extremely well! Next year we would like to start planning even sooner to make it even bigger and better.”

Pagliettini hopes more students will attend next year. “We would love to have as many as possible in the coming years; this year’s numbers definitely were a great way to start planning for next year.”

Staiger mentioned why some students were reluctant to consider attending Winter Ball. “I think a lot of students thought Winter Ball would be boring or lame and disregarded it until the last minute. As a result, we had a lot of people trying to buy tickets close to the event time and, unfortunately, we had sold out at that point…I think with a lot of events on college campuses, students are afraid to go alone, and they hold themselves back from having fun and meeting new people.

She concluded, “Winter Ball was a blast for everyone who went, and I hope that we have a great turn out for next year!”