Last week, Program Board (PB) announced that the Minnesota History Center would host Macalester’s 2015 Winter Ball. With a change of venue, students can expect a slightly different Winter Ball experience compared to previous years, which is in line with PB’s long-term desire to improve and polish the event.
Olivia Doe ’18, one of the traditions coordinators for PB said, “We are actually involving the students a lot more in the process, we’ve had a number of polls out.” Doe explained that the student body was asked to weigh in on decisions ranging from the Ball’s theme to the charity to which PB will donate 20 percent of ticket revenue. “So, this is very much the People’s Winter Ball,” Doe said. “It’s involving the students a lot more in the process and letting them see what’s going on.”
PB is also going to offer more alternative activities after the success of last year’s casino games. “This year we have two activities, not just the one,” Doe said. “So it’ll be great for people who don’t want to dance too.”
PB is also planning to remedy a few things from last year’s Ball. “We are going to be staggering the food coming out,” said Blaise Yokoyama ’16, PB Chair.
Last year, it was all out at the beginning, and then was eaten by the time only half the buses had arrived.”
Sarah Johnson, the Bon Appetit Catering Manager at the History Center who is coordinating with PB to organize the event, said in an email that the multiple-level venue will help provide a plethora of different areas and activities.
“I know this year’s team from Macalester is using the past events to dial in the details even further to ensure it’s just as successful (or hopefully even more successful!) than the past balls,” Johnson said.
These small, yearly improvements are part of a long-term attempt to change Winter Ball’s reputation after disruptive events, such as the vandalism or disrespect of venue property, took place four years ago.
Rumors have been circulating that the yearly change in venues for the Ball is a direct result of these events. “Despite rumors, we are not banned from any venues,” Suresh Mudragada, Assistant Director of Campus Activities and Operations, said in an interview.
The hope is that the Ball’s new venue will help advance PB’s intentions of making the event fancier and safer for students.
“Winter Ball has been held at many different locations,” Doe said. “We were trying to look for a spot where it hadn’t been held before, something that would be a little classier, that would kind of kick it up a notch because Winter Ball has definitely been turning into an almost regal event, where people really dress up and look really pretty and want to have fun. It’s definitely been steering away from the kind of ‘fancy Kagin’.”
PB is also working closely with students and staff to ensure a good balance is struck between fun and safety.
Lerren Tyler, the Students Activities coordinator, explained that “with the Green Dot training, any student who goes through that is offered a free Winter Ball ticket. We kind of encourage them to use what they have learned at that training during Winter Ball. We also reach out to general student volunteers and ask them to go through a mini-training. They will just check in with us throughout the evening if they notice something that they want us to go monitor or go speak with someone, or if it looks like someone is not OK. We are kind of using the eyes and ears that we have to keep everyone else informed.”
Johnson expressed excitement for the event, highlighting the History Center’s dedication to working with Macalester to making sure the event is both safe and fun for students.
“We have hosted all types of events at our venue ranging from the very tame to the more outlandish, so we are experienced for a wide variety of scenarios,” Johnson said. “Additionally, there will be security guards from Macalester and the History Center to keep everyone safe. Macalester has also taken their own precautions for before arrival, during the event & the end of the night, to make sure students are safe.”