On Friday, Sept. 29, the Fairfield University Student Association hosted the much anticipated 14th annual Presidential Ball, which featured, as always, fun, dancing, food and great music. The theme for this year’s event was 1940s elegance, as opposed to last year’s theme, which had the theme of 1950s rock ‘n’ roll.
Many questions arose about this year’s Pres Ball due to the fact that it was a tradition started by the University’s former president, Rev. Jeffrey von Arx, S.J., hence, with his departure, the tradition could have possibly changed or have been replaced with a new event altogether.
One of the other concerns that resonated with students was the issue regarding the overall size of the venue, which left some students scrambling to find tickets on the final days leading up to the event. Many would like to see an increase in the venue size to avoid buying and selling on the Facebook page. On all of the class Facebook pages, people were trying to buy and sell tickets for the event due to the supply of tickets not being enough to satisfy the demand for attendance.
As per the FUSA Programming Director, Danielle Rice ‘19, 2,605 tickets were bought in total, but only 1,838 were scanned, which could be a result of students possibly getting in without tickets being scanned or because many simply decided not to go.
Rice felt as though “this year’s Presidential Ball was a great success … we were incredibly proud of our new entrance to the event as well as the layout of the tent with the dance floor and stage.”
At the event, it was quite apparent that the University took the initiative to increase security measures. According to Assistant Director of Public Safety John Ritchie, “I think we had a couple more staff members on this year over past years.” In terms of the amount of transports, Ritchie stated that there were 10 alcohol related ones across campus in total, including three from the tent. As always, the campus police were ensuring that the event was a safe environment for the University community to hang out and have a good time without incident.
One student in attendance at the event, Kyle Morehead ‘20, when asked about his thoughts on Prez Ball as a tradition, said that “as a student, I think it’s important because it is a coming together of the Fairfield community and we all get to just have a great night together.”
In addition to affirming the importance of the event as a staple of the University community, Morehead also spoke about what should be changed for Pres Ball in the future. He expressed that, “maybe the addition of more tickets because I know that ticket sales were running low this year as well as last year, so including more tickets for visitors and more students to come along would be awesome.”
In regards to the maximum capacity of the event space, Ritchie made it clear that, “this year’s tent was a bit larger than usual. It was able to accommodate about 2,600 guests. We sold just about 2,600 tickets.”
When asked about the state of the tradition and whether or not he thought it would be continued under the new presidency at the University, Morehead said, “I don’t think [the tradition of Pres Ball will stop] because for as many years as it has been going on, I don’t think they would stop it now and there really is no reason to.”
In regards to his feelings about the overall importance of the tradition for the University community, he said ”I think it just opens up a lot of social interaction in the community for everyone from all different classes to get together and hang out.”
Sophomore Brendan McMahon, when asked about the importance of this annual tradition, believed that ”to me, Pres Ball means initiating in the new year. It’s a big party at the end of September, just as we’re getting into the swing of things, we’ve got this big celebration to really kick start the year.”
As to why the tradition is worth maintaining, Rice replied that “Presidential Ball kicks off the fall semester as the first event of the year that is open to all classes. There is a true sense of community that forms at the event. This could be seen this year among the 400+ seniors that took a group picture on the back of Bellarmine with President Nemec.” Rice continued, “students are excited to attend this event and be together as a University. FUSA is proud to hold and sponsor this event, year after year.”