Birthday Ball Safety Report

By Ji Kim
Elm Staff Writer

Behind the glitz and glam of this year’s “Great Gatsby” Birthday Ball, Public Safety took extra care to make sure students stayed safe. The Elm investigates the behind-the-scenes preparation for George’s big bash. - Photo courtesy of WC website.

On Feb. 25, the Washington College community and guests enjoyed this year’s “Great Gatsby” Birthday Ball.  The annual event always presents specific challenges for Public Safety, and this year was no exception.

According to Director of Public Safety Jerry Roderick, Public Safety has been preparing for the event since last semester by making sure that the event would meet safety codes, going over lighting issues, mapping fast emergency routes and exits, determining the amount of staffing, and figuring out how duties would be delegated among regular full-time and part-time staff members.  In the end, Roderick said that the event ran successfully without major problems.

“It’s a rather large event to manage, covering territory between two buildings, so we had to cover a lot ground and keep in mind of the numbers of people coming to this event.  But from a security perspective, we had enough people to work the event and cover their stations so that we weren’t spread so  we had to cover a lot of ground and keep in mind the numbers of people coming to this event. But from a security’s perspective, we had enough people to work the event and cover their stations so that we weren’t spread so thin. We were very pleased wtih the flow of Birthday Ball. My overall impression of the event was that everything went according to plan,” said Roderick.

The event was an especially big deal for new students who were novices to the Birthday Ball experience.

“I didn’t really know what to expect walking into it, but it was so elaborate and beautifully decorated that I was blown away. It was awesome, and I had a wonderful night,” said freshman Matt Ridge.

Birthday Ball veterans also enjoyed the festivities.

“This year’s Birthday Ball was really nice,” said sophomore Nick Pace. “I really liked the decorations and the Roll Royce car in the corner. And the swing band at the beginning, that was really neat.”

This year, the 1 a.m. Birthday Ball breakfast moved from Hodson Hall into the gym.

“I think they wanted to try something a little different this year and have the breakfast there at the event. There was some discussion about how some students didn’t want to walk to the dining hall,” said Roderick.

He said he has recieved feedback concerning the number of intoxicated students toward the end of the event.

“There’s a couple of perspectives, but the faculty I talked to there really enjoyed [the event]. I think that the majority of people who attended the event had a really fun time. We had a really big turn out. I was very pleased to see students coming much earlier to the event this year compared to last year,” said Roderick.

As usual, there will be a staff recap meeting of Birthday Ball during which feedback will be looked over more thoroughly.

“We want to take Birthday Ball into the direction of it being a classy event for people to enjoy. That’s the direction that everyone seems to be moving forward with, and that’s really encouraging,” said Roderick. “I want to say thank you to all of the students who attended and had a good time and we’re happy to have worked this hard to put this together, to have it come out the way it did.”

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