The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

The Student News Site of Macalester College

The Mac Weekly

Winter Ball venue options shrink as Crowne Plaza chooses not to host

Program Board Traditions Coordinator Jolena Zabel ’16, who planned the 2013 Winter Ball with Brynna Crockett ’15, took a five minute phone call from the Crowne Plaza hotel last week. A hotel representative explained that because of liabilities the site will not host the event in future years.

Suresh Mudragada, Assistant Director of Campus Programs, was surprised by the news. In December he told The Mac Weekly that he thought the Crowne Plaza would be a fitting venue for future Winter Balls.

“My initial reaction was surprise because that wasn’t the feedback we received last semester,” Mudragada said. “But it was [also] not a surprise because of student behavior.”

Mudragada explained that due to several staffing changes during December, the hotel did not communicate with Macalester for a few months.

“This is what I expected at first, but then there was silence in communication for months… then we received this [news],” Crockett said.

Macalester’s main contact stopped working at the Crowne Plaza in December and was replaced by Megan Anderson, who did not inform The Mac Weekly of any complaints at that time. A spokesperson from the Crowne Plaza was unavailable for comment.

Mudragada said that he has not been able to communicate with hotel staff in the last week about reconsidering in the future.

“I’ve been playing phone tag with them for the last week,” he said.

Dean of Students Jim Hoppe said he understood their decision but wanted to see the hotel’s report.

“I’m interested in seeing the report [from the hotel] and see what it was exactly that led to the decision,” he said. “It would help us for making changes in the future.”

Mudragada added that the future of Winter Ball is not in jeopardy, but the event could be smaller or kept on campus.

In last week’s Opinion section, Zabel indicated that this lowered the pool of viable venues. Of the six possible venues, the International Market Square would require breathalyzer tests and the Program Board ruled out three other venues.

Crockett said that students would not respond favorably to breathalyzer tests, so she did not consider that a viable option. Hoppe agreed and added that he would draw the line there.“If [using a breathalyzer] was the situation or it got to that state, we probably shouldn’t have the event,” he said.

Instead, the event might look more like that of the 2009 Winter Ball which only had space available for 600 students.

“Jolena gave the stats in her opinion piece,” he said. “There are only so many that can hold us and are appropriate.”

Hoppe, Mudragada, Zabel and Crockett said the event highlights a problematic drinking culture on campus.

“The issue is it takes behavior that we do on a weekly basis and puts it in a public sphere,” Crockett said. “It is never good, and we always come away looking embarrassed.”

Hoppe credited Zabel with an opinion piece that acknowledged the importance of a community solution to this problem. He echoed his statement to The Mac Weekly that current protocol feels a little bit over the top.

“I think I said this in the winter story too: It’s embarrassing how many steps we take just because we anticipate people will make bad decisions,” he said.

Hoppe pointed out that the cost of planning does not always seem worth the benefits.

“There are things we as a staff could do different…but you start to ask if what you get out is worth all the effort that goes into planning it,” he said.

Hoppe said that he felt especially bad for Zabel and Crockett.

“For Jolena and Brynna it must be really tough to put in all work and see things turn out as they did,” he said.

Zabel and Crockett both said that they were frustrated with the hotel’s announcement.

“I felt bad for the people on their end — it was not a pleasant experience for them either, and we behaved rather atrociously.”

Crockett said she was disappointed because she hoped the well-run 2013 Winter Ball would create positive momentum for this year’s event.

“I was a little disappointed…this year,” she said. “Last year we had a really successful event, but there was a threat for the future, and we worked with Health and Wellness. I wanted to achieve the same effect without a threat.”

Crockett said Winter Ball has potential to be a highly successful event in the future should students adjust their behaviors.

“[It has the] potential to be a great event, but its going to be a community effort to reach it,” she said.

Hoppe also said he likes that Winter Ball offers the campus community a chance to go into the cities and have a fun night of celebration across staff and students.

“I really love these events and wish there were more opportunities for students to get off campus,” he said.

View Comments (8)
More to Discover

Comments (8)

All The Mac Weekly Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • C

    Carolyn CameronSep 11, 2019 at 2:50 pm

    Hi to all, the YouTube record that is posted at at this point has in fact pleasant quality along with nice audio feature

  • N

    Nathan HamiltonSep 10, 2019 at 9:09 am

    Hello there, simply became alert to your blog through Google, and found that it’s truly informative. I’m going to be careful for brussels. I’ll appreciate if you happen to proceed this in future. A lot of other folks shall be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

  • T

    Trevor GrahamSep 5, 2019 at 11:27 pm

    Great post, I conceive blog owners should larn a lot from this weblog its very user friendly.