Birthday Ball 2018 Ramps Up

We’re just about a month away from the 54th annual Birthday Ball, which will be held on Saturday, Feb. 24.

This year’s theme will be revealed in Hodson tomorrow between noon and 1 p.m., with a giveaway from the Student Events Board.

Other than the theme, the biggest change coming to the dance this year is a shift in the entrance.

“We can no longer enter through Cain [Gym], so the entrance is actually going to be to the left of the [Johnson Fitness Center] where the glass is, where the weight room is,” said Student Events Board’s Director of Annual Events Meredith Maynard, senior. “There’s a door to the right ofall that glass, and we’re going to be entering from over there. We’re going to try to have as many signs as possible, and we’ll probably put some on the Cain doors that say to go towards the JFC.”

Since a renovation now separates the buildings, SEB has designated an alternate route to enter the dance. The dance studio will be utilized as a coat check and for ticket sales, Maynard said.

For the second year, SEB is encouraging more formal wear for Birthday Ball attendees, Maynard said. This means long dresses and suits and ties.

“We want it to be like a gala,” she said, “elegant, because there are so many different people that are going to be there, and it would be a nicer event overall with longer dresses and guys in suits and ties and things like that.”

The tone of Birthday Ball is meant to be a bit different from that of Homecoming.

“Homecoming is a fun dance/way to welcome everyone back after the summer, whereas this brings the whole community together past and present, more of the fancy, gala feel,” she said.

As with last year, current students don’t need tickets for entry. They should bring their Student IDs for Presence, the platform the College utilizes to track student engagement in its programming.

Alumni, faculty, and staff should have received an email about “early bird” tickets, Maynard said.

For first-years unsure of the dance, Maynard said she loves it for its emphasis on the WC community.

“I think it’s really cool how this is not only a dance for current students but it really brings the whole WC community together. It includes alumni, faculty and staff, and even the Board of Visitors and Governors; I really like how it brings all of us together as a community,” she said.

A month away from the dance, Maynard’s, and SEB’s, work is still underway.

“In September, we start brainstorming theme ideas [with] the whole SEB and get everyone’s ideas, then the Annual Events Committee starts to narrow it down and get a list of three-four solid themes,” Maynard said.

With the themes narrowed down, they start looking into decorations they can do within the parameters of each theme, which helps determine what they think will be best, she said.

That is typically narrowed down by the end of October or early November. Then comes the process of contacting all the companies and “getting the ball rolling,” she said.

Contracts are typically finalized in December and January and then all that’s left is the dance.

Student Events Board, and other on-campus volunteers, begin setting up in the Johnson Fitness Center the Wednesday before the dance.

“The companies start coming on Thursday at around 8 a.m. and it’s all day and night Thursday and all day and night Friday. Saturday is just kind of like the finishing touches,” she said.

The work for SEB isn’t over at midnight when the dance ends. Maynard said that some of the companies will break down after the dance and are usually there until about 3 a.m. Sunday morning, the Board is there to finish the rest. Then, it’s planning for next year.

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