A roarin’ time

GVL / Emily Frye
Sophomore Elan Johnson

GVL / Emily Frye Sophomore Elan Johnson

Hannah Lentz

The DeVos Place ballroom was filled with Gatsby-themed glitz, glamour and Grand Valley State University students on Friday for the annual Presidents’ Ball.

Nearly 4,000 GVSU students attended the event hosted by the Laker Traditions Team and Student Senate, making it the largest Presidents’ Ball yet. Tickets for the dance sold out on Feb. 4, one month after they became available, and all 480 dinner tickets were sold as well.

Event Coordinator Emma Moulton worked with Assistant Coordinator Terrell Couch, Student Senate and the Laker Traditions Team to organize, plan and execute the yearly event. Additionally, there was a Presidents’ Ball committee made up of student senators that helped with planning and volunteering.

“Our main hope in doing this is that everyone has a safe and great time at Presidents’ Ball,” Moulton said. “Hopefully this helps students feel connected to Grand Valley in some way.”

During the dinner portion of the event, several awards were given out. Campus Dining Marketing Manager Deb Rambadt received the Laker of the Year Award, Modern Languages and Literature professor David Eick won the Student Award for Faculty Excellence and Grand Rapids Mayor George Heartwell accepted the President’s Appreciation Award.

The dinner was emceed by GVSU students, and there were several student performances for entertainment while attendees ate.

“It is always exciting to come together as a university once a year and celebrate Grand Valley,” Student Senate President Andrew Plague said. “All of our award recipients were really unique and fitting.”

GVSU President Thomas Haas also played a hosting role in the event by presenting the President’s Appreciation Award and remaining present to interact with students in attendance.

“All the other students participating in the event and everyone coming together is truly the magic of Grand Valley that I see and feel here and have seen for the past nine years,” Haas said. “Every day of my time here has been so special.”

This year, the ball included free charter busing, a candy bar, a photo booth, a live DJ, a live band and a catered dinner. Adding to the event, the GVSU swing dance club hosted the upstairs level of DeVos Place to help teach those in attendance new dance moves.

With all of these opportunities presented for students in attendance, the total price for this event is no small number. Presidents’ Ball received a 17.5 percent increase in its budget, growing from $33,000 in 2014 to $40,000 in 2015.

“Most of our budget is revenue from ticket sales,” Moulton said. “We needed to raise the budget because of inflation, and we didn’t want to cut out on of the bigger aspects of the dance.

“I think it is important to throw great events like this for students. For many students, this is one of the only functions they get involved with outside of classes. Grand Valley traditions are often times what brings students to campus or what keeps them here.”

Despite the large funding needed for this event, the event works to bring together GVSU students to form a tradition for years to come, Moulton said.

“We have a great university — it starts with our students, it ends with our students and we have great faculty and staff and support from the community as a whole,” Haas said. “When we bring students together like this, at the end of the day, it’s all about having a night to remember.”