Winter Ball tickets sell out

By Oana Alexan

Macalester’s inaugural Winter Ball sold all of its 650 tickets to tonight’s event, surprising organizers and frustrating some students who find themselves unable to get access to the Program Board’s dance at the Mill City Museum. Program Board Chair Katie Agnew said the dance answers students’ requests for a fall formal dance to complement spring’s Founder’s Day.

“At the beginning of the semester, we sent out a survey and solicited feedback from the student body. About 65 percent of a relatively small sample of 500 students were looking for a formal dance on an off-campus location,” Agnew said.

She said the Program Board searched for an available venue with a beautiful view that could also accommodate as many students as possible and decided the museum was the best option, since it has a maximum event capacity of about 650 people.

The board didn’t mention the ticket limitation on either posters or the invitations advertising the event, instead opting to ask only that students buy their tickets by Nov. 30.

The 5 tickets were on sale for two weeks at the Campus Center Info Desk, but many students who returned from Thanksgiving break expecting to be able to buy tickets on the last date listed were surprised to find that they were sold out.

The Winter Ball Facebook page quickly turned into a back-and-forth between frustrated students without tickets and organizers who tried to explain the event’s decision-making process.

Some students said they were under the impression that the amount of tickets available was unlimited as long they were purchased by the deadline. Others said they were refused tickets before they ran out because Info Desk employees said they did not have access to the tickets at the time.

Andrew Whang ’10 said he tried to buy tickets several times and was told in each instance that “they were locked away in an office.”

“We weren’t planning on filling up,” Agnew said. “Nowhere in our wildest imagination did we think that we’d reach the capacity of 650.” She also added that the capacities of many events are not publicized if planners do not anticipate attendance will approach the maximum. In fact, Agnew said the board had planned to sell $10 tickets at the door to students who missed the deadline.

Many seniors felt left out of this new event at the benefit of underclassmen who can attend the dance in future years as well. Whang suggested that in limiting the amount of tickets sold, the Board could have established a purchasing system “like a hierarchy based on seniority.”

“I’m sure a lot of effort was put to plan the event, but like many of us have expressed, it was just poor execution with inadequate excuses,” Whang declared.

Agnew said she is happy about this year’s turnout and that it will be “an amazing event.” She said the board plans on making the event an annual occurrence and guaranteed that next year they will search for a larger venue.