Associated Students of Occidental College (ASOC) Senior Senators Antoniqua Roberson and Mari Peña announced plans to organize a formal ball during senior week in an email sent to the student body Sept. 24.
The ball, intended for seniors only, would consist of a formal dance as well as a recognition and superlative ceremony to celebrate outstanding members of the graduating class, according to Roberson.
“[The ball] would be about celebrating the successes of the students that are graduating and coming together in a formal way … to celebrate what we’ve done — being proud to be an Oxy grad,” Roberson said.
A committee, comprised of 11 representatives from all grades, was formed to begin the planning process, according to Peña. Roberson added that the idea behind allowing non-seniors on the committee is to ensure the sustainability and longevity of the event.
The committee is early in the planning stages, and it has some challenges to address, such as funding. The dance would ideally be a no-cost event, according to Peña and Roberson.
“I think [dances are best] if they’re free, because then they include everyone,” Tamara Himmelstein, Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Student Life, said.
According to Himmelstein, senior week activities used to be much more extensive before she came to Occidental, including a sunset dinner cruise that students had to pay for. However, interest in scheduled events has waned as the amount of seniors who flock to Las Vegas during senior week has increased.
Another concern raised by both the senators and Himmelstein is the competition that may arise between a formal ball and the existing senior social event, colloquially referred to as the Last Chance Dance.
“Don’t get me wrong, I want Last Chance Dance to go on,” Roberson said. “In no shape or form is [this effort] trying to step on [its] toes.”
The existing senior week schedule includes various ceremonies and luncheons, a pub night and the Last Chance Dance, as well as other activities that change year to year. Himmelstein believes that there is only room in the senior week schedule for one dance, but is flexible on what that dance might look like.
“The important thing is that it’s for the seniors,” Himmelstein said. “I want to do what the seniors want to do.”
The senior ball would be more of a deliberate celebration compared to the Last Chance Dance, which is just like every other dance on campus, according to Peña.
The effort to start a senior ball, though still in a nascent state, has been met with a positive response from seniors and faculty alike, especially since non-Greek life formals rarely happen on Occidental’s campus, according to Peña and Roberson.
“I think senior week as it is doesn’t include a special sort of ‘last-hoorah’ for just our class, so something like this would be awesome,” Grace Centauro (senior) said. “I think we’d all appreciate a special night out to celebrate us.”