On the evening of Friday, Oct. 5, a parade of students in dresses and suits and ties began their annual trek up the hill to Bellarmine Lawn for the annual Presidential Ball.
The lines began to get longer and longer around Bellarmine Mansion as students crowded in to take their pictures with the president before stepping into the large white tent in the middle of Bellarmine lawn.
Since being co-founded by President Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J. and the Fairfield University Student Association 11 years ago, Prez Ball has become Fairfield’s most eagerly anticipated tradition, selling out all 2500 tickets.
“I had a blast at Prez Ball,” said Gabby Lopez ‘17. “The ambience was incredible and the turnout was surprising. It seems as though everyone had a ton of fun, including myself, dancing the night away. Everyone looked stunning.”
Walking into the tent, the temperature rose instantly as students packed together to dance to the musical stylings of DJ Nunzio, who played a variety of hits ranging from hip hop to pop to rock. Overhead, different colored lights flashed, illuminating the dance floor.
Some returning Prez Ball attendees claimed that they enjoyed themselves a lot more now that they knew what to expect. “The overall event was more of a success than last year for me at least,” stated Paolo Garcia. “I enjoyed it.”
While many students were excited for this year’s James Bond-themed Prez Ball, other students were less enthusiastic. Sophomore Josue Jorge initially planned not to attend Prez Ball, but enjoyed himself nonetheless: “I almost did not come but here I am and it’s a blast.”
From a security standpoint, Prez Ball was much more manageable than those of prior years. According to Assistant Director of the Department of Public Safety John Ritchie, only 21 students were taken to the medical triage tent this year, compared to around 100 students last year.
“Last year, our resources were stretched thin, but this year we didn’t have such an overwhelming experience,” said Ritchie.
Ritchie added that he was “impressed with the student’s lack of desire to pregame,” noting that the lack of drunks made for a “successful event for everyone.”
Compared to 13 medical transports to hospitals last year, this year’s stats seem relatively tame: only two transports from outside the event and five from the event itself.
However, the decision to switch the entrance from the front doors of Bellarmine mansion to a side entrance caused some “minor glitches,” according to Kelly Miraglia ‘15, vice chair of programming board of the FUSA.
Ritchie says that at around 9:30 p.m., a large mass of students pushing their way into the event created a bottleneck of foot traffic that caused one female attendee to be knocked over. While the female required medical attention, she was eventually was able to walk herself back to her residence, according to Ritchie.
Yet, Miraglia still considers the event a success: “We were really happy about the fewer number of transports,” she said. “We want people to have a good time, and having to go to the hospital is not a good time.”
As freshmen experienced the first Prez Ball of their Fairfield careers, seniors prepared to say goodbye to the tradition: “The Presidential Ball this year was one of the best ones I have experienced out of the four I have been to,” said Chris Gutmann ‘15.
“Being a senior, it was personally important that this event was spectacular and memorable, and it certainly was. My sincerest thanks go out to Father von Arx for allowing this deep and significant event to take place every year and to the FUSA staff who make it possible.”