The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

The Student News Site of Grand Valley State University

Grand Valley Lanthorn

GV Presidents’ Ball 2024: a night of enchantment, dance and enduring tradition

Courtesy | GVSU

On Friday, Feb. 2, the Grand Valley State University Campus Activities Board and Student Senate partnered to host the annual Presidents’ Ball at the DeVos Place. This year’s theme was “An Evening of Enchantment.”  The activities of the event were spread across multiple parts of the DeVos Place, including a dessert table, bar, sensory room and swing dance area upstairs with a live jazz band.

Students could choose to begin the evening by attending a social and award hour or just purchase tickets to the dance portion. During the social hour, attending students could grab a commemorative wine glass, enjoy desserts and a variety of appetizers.

The Presidents’ Ball is one of GVSU’s oldest traditions dating back to 1986 and is an event that many students look forward to every year. Despite being canceled in 2021 and 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the tradition returned in 2023, drawing in crowds to the event since. 

“I heard about it from my roommate and she made it (seem) like a lot of fun,” said Joslyn Boyd, a first-year junior at GVSU. “I found out that a lot more of my friends were going to be there, so it seemed like a good time to dress up and hang out with some friends.”

Much like Boyd, another first-year student, Allison VanderSloot, was inspired by her friends to attend.

“My friends wanted to go and being around my friends always makes things a good time, so how could I say no,” VanderSloot said. “I didn’t go in with any expectations. I went to the Honors Ball, so I expected it to be somewhat similar. I thought the music censoring was goofy, but it was fun.” 

Despite the event’s music being censored, the songs played were one of VanderSloot’s favorite parts of the night because of the variety of music including pop-music and country. 

“I thought they hit on a lot of different subgenres of what could be played at a dance that reflected a lot of different cultures and people’s different tastes,” VanderSloot said. “Everyone had something they could dance to at some point.” 

While Boyd and VanderSloot both re-used prom dresses from their high school years, Ella Mattson, a freshman attendee bought her attire specifically for the dance.

“I got my dress from Windsor,” Mattson said. “It was a last-second decision, because I didn’t think my original dress would get here in time, so I went to the mall with my friend.”

Mattson said compared to her previous school dance experiences, the Presidents’ Ball was a fantastic experience.

“I was expecting it to be like a high school prom, but it was a lot better. There was so much more energy. All of my proms were boring,” Mattson said. “I wish I would’ve checked out the sensory room, but I was busy dancing my heart out. I would’ve loved to check out those dessert tables, too.”

Boyd said the different aspects of the venue and event came together to create a unique and fun experience.

“It was a nice venue,” Boyd said. “I really liked all the things they had whipped out. The smoke machines, the L.E.D lights and lasers– those were cool. It was very well put together.” 

Boyd also said is excited about the event’s future. She said she was interested to see next year’s theme and purchase a dinner and dance ticket the next time around. 

“I think I will go again next year and I’ll go to the dinner part. My roommate went, and she said they (the appetizers) were really delicious,” Boyd said.

Similar to Boyd, both Mattson and VanderSloot plan to go again next year. They said they can’t wait for another night of fancy dresses and fun with friends.

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