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 October 14; Mac tradition lives on

Graphic courtesy of Amanda Wong ’24.

An annual Macalester tradition, this year’s Winter Ball will fall on Saturday, Oct. 14. Though not Macalester’s longest-lived tradition, Winter Ball has become beloved to Macalester students for providing an opportunity to escape the monotony of classes and routines and give students, faculty and staff an opportunity to dress up for a night out. 

Traditionally featuring a variety of snacks and beverages, games and live music, past Winter Balls have had an abundance of activities, from mini golf to photo booths to arcade games. The 2023 Winter Ball will be no different. 

According to Program Board (PB) planner Sofia Vaz ’25, this year’s Winter Ball attendees can expect to see similar themes to last year’s edition; many vendors were invited back to Macalester for an additional year to provide fun and entertainment to enjoy with friends at the event. 

Many may be questioning why “Winter” Ball has suddenly shifted an entire month earlier in the fall semester. The answer to that question is deceptively simple, and has to do with retaining volunteers in order to be able to continue hosting the event. 

“The reason that we moved the ball up to October was because of how badly coat check went last year,” Vaz said. “We want to make sure that we’re not wasting students or volunteers’ time.” 

Vaz has always enjoyed planning events, whether school dances or field trips, particularly because it is an opportunity to create a space for others to have fun, an ideology she has definitely applied to Winter Ball. 

“At first I didn’t know the extent [of] the creative liberty that I would have with these events,” she said. “But that was a nice bonus.” 

When she joined PB last year, Vaz was thrown into the deep end, immediately starting work in fall of 2022 on last year’s Winter Ball. This year, she began the planning process earlier, beginning at the end of the spring semester and working through the end of the summer to ensure this year’s Winter Ball would be a success. 

“My main event is Winter Ball, just because it’s such a large scale event,” Vaz said. “[I learned] how connected people at Mac are in terms of the staff, faculty … The amount of support I received in my first year planning followed this year, because I still had the same connections, same people, same friendships.” 

Joining Vaz in planning Winter Ball this year is sophomore Abby Deeths ’26, who jumped at the chance to join PB her freshman year when she encountered them at the Org Fair. Deeths was a member of the student council her senior year of high school, and was looking for a similar experience at Macalester, which she was able to find in PB. 

“As a first-year coordinator last year, I worked on events catered towards first-years,” Deeths wrote in an email to The Mac Weekly. “The first event that I ever planned for the Program Board taught me quite a lot. [It] was easily the biggest learning curve I’ve experienced in my event planning, as I went from knowing nothing about planning events to hosting one on my own.”

 Deeths also joked that she had no idea how far college students were willing to go for free food until she started planning events, which helped her learn about booking spaces, ordering supplies, advertising and more. 

Under Vaz, Deeths has taken on the responsibility of organizing the games and activities that students will use to pass the time not spent on the dance floor. Though the live music has always been a hit with students, the throng of moving bodies can lead to some overheating, from which the games provide a welcome reprieve. 

“I feel that students are going to have a blast with the games this year, particularly since the games will be focused on including groups, not just individuals,” Deeths wrote. 

Aside from games, Vaz also revealed that this year’s Winter Ball will have a face painter, so perhaps plan your outfits accordingly. She also reminded students that although the Leonard Center may not be the optimal place for holding an event, it allows for funding for so many of the beloved aspects of Winter Ball.

“It’s very expensive to put on an event for 1400 people,” Vaz said. “The cost was something that before I started planning, I did not understand the extent of.”

In addition to an earlier winter ball,students can expect changes in the refreshments that will be provided at the event. While in the past, lemonade and water along with some light snacks were served, this year’s ball will boast some more filling options that won’t run out in the first hour after arrival. 

Both Deeths and Vaz have gained significant experience from being involved in the planning of last year’s Winter Ball, and hope that they have made adjustments accordingly for next week’s Ball.

“We definitely learned quite a lot last year though,” Deeths wrote. “Namely, we learned about the type of food and activities that students enjoy during the ball. There were a lot of foods and activities that weren’t received the way we expected they would be, which gave us some automatic adjustments for this year.” 

For those who aren’t sure yet if they plan to attend the infamous event, Vaz has a message for you: 

“While [Winter Ball] is still a school dance and it’s not that glamorous, it’s a really fun time and one of the only opportunities besides Spring Fest to go to a school-wide event that doesn’t have any educational meaning or purpose,” Vaz said. “There’s free food, free bevs … a nice DJ, and you get to dress up and take cute pictures with your friends. It’s one of those things that’s just part of the Macalester experience.” 

To get your tickets to Winter Ball, go to 


Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Lucy Diaz
Lucy Diaz, Managing Editor
Lucy Diaz '24 is a Managing Editor, from Montclair, NJ. She is a biology major with a horrifying combination of minors/concentrations that includes psychology, biochemistry and community & global health. She owns earrings that say "Be Gay do Crimes," a tiny chemistry beaker filled with d20 dice, and knows a lot about medieval european monarchy.

Comments (0)

All The Mac Weekly Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

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