Students gathered on Bellarmine Lawn on the night of Friday, Sept. 27 at 8 p.m. for the 16th Annual Presidential Ball. Instead of last year’s layout which included two tents, one for food and tables and one for the dance floor, this year there was just one massive tent on the lawn. 

The Presidential Ball is an annual event organized by the Fairfield University Student Association and formally hosted by University President Mark R. Nemec, Ph.D.

The food, catered by Sodexo, included chicken tenders, french fries, the famous mac and cheese bites and more. The vivid red and blue lighting and lasers provided by GrooveBoston, which changed with the music and set a fun, vibrant tone for the night. Attendees were invited to take a photo with President Nemec on the steps of Bellarmine Hall before entering the tent. Then once everyone had entered the venue, President Nemec and his wife Suzanne made an appearance on stage to dance to “September” by musical artist Earth, Wind & Fire.

“All in all, Pres Ball was active but manageable,” said Frank Ficko, associate director of the Department of Public Safety. “The goal is for students to have fun and to be safe during the course of the evening.”

“I had so much fun at Pres Ball!” said Colleen Vann ‘22 via electronic message. “I didn’t go last year because I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I’m so glad I went. It was so fun to have an excuse to dress up and then go and dance with all my friends. And the mac and cheese bites were fantastic.”

A few students remarked that they felt that it was more crowded this year than last, but attendance remained almost the same. “We scanned in 2513 this year of the 2800 FUSA sold,” said president of FUSA Claire Monahan ‘20 via email. “Last year 2533 [tickets were] scanned of 2800 [that were] sold.”

“I thought Pres Ball was a lot of fun but definitely more crowded than last year,” said Bree VanDermark ‘22 via electronic message. “I think that Fairfield should continue having Pres Ball because it’s one of the events that make us unique as a college. I remember hearing about Pres Ball on my tour and was very excited to go if I decided to come here.”

Vann said, “I definitely think it’s a fun tradition that students look forward to.”

“This year’s Pres Ball was a smash hit!” said Thomas Boutros ‘20, director of programming for FUSA, via email. “We wanted to make the space more inclusive, and FUSA took the initiative to hold the event under one tent space, which appeared to go over incredibly well. Personally, we were very proud of the choice to do so, and it seemed to resonate well with the students. I think there are always improvements to be made, and we plan on sending out a student feedback survey as we always do to gather data about how students felt as well.”

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