GV Student Senate prepares for Presidents’ Ball

GVL / Bo Anderson

Students and faculty danced under the spectacular light show in the Devos Place Ballroom

Bo Anderson

GVL / Bo Anderson Students and faculty danced under the spectacular light show in the Devos Place Ballroom

Sarah Hillenbrand

The Grand Valley State University Student Senate is finishing organizing the 27th annual Presidents’ Ball on Feb. 1 with the theme “Let the Good Times Roll.”

The Senate spends about $30,000 each year to host the evening for about 4,000 people at the dance and 400 people at the dinner, said Emma Moulton of the senate campus affairs committee.

While for most students the ball is a chance to relax and have fun, for the senators, it means work.

“We start planning before the year starts, but then as the year progresses we’re doing more and more, and start PRing more,” said Tendo Lukwago, executive vice president of the senate. “We start decorating more and come up with all the little things that are necessary to make the whole event as spectacular as it is.”

The main ballroom will be decorated like the “Grand Valley Bandstand” and other rooms will have different names for the different locations, Lukwago said.

“There’s a lot of different parts that are ‘50s themed apart from just the dance that students can experience while they’re at Presidents’ Ball,” he said.

Contacting vendors to come to the event is another big part in the planning process. “Presidents’ Ball is in its 27th year, so doing it that long annually, you tend to find out who does the best job and who can give the students and anybody who is in attendance the value of their ticket price,” Lukwago said.

The Senate’s Public Relations Committee has the job of promoting the event through fliers, social media and word of mouth.

“I think there’s a misconception that it’s just (for) upperclassmen, which is totally not true at all. It’s for all students,” said Lindsay Vivano, vice president of the public relations committee.

During the actual dance, the senators are responsible for making sure things run smoothly throughout the night.

“There’s the planning stages and then the day of (the dance) is when we really mobilize the senators and utilize them to decorate the whole hall and do the little things like check IDs when they come through the door and clean up afterwards,” Lukwago said.

Overall, though, the senators find that the work pays off.

“I think that having it for the past 27 years is a really good thing that contributes to the small-school feel of Grand Valley while it has expanded,” Lukwago said. “While it’s like 24,000 people that attend here, we still have dances like that and a night where a large number of students can come together and still have a fun night together.”

Tickets for the ball can be purchased at the 2020 Desk in the Kirkhof Center. For the first time, tickets for the dance only are discounted for the first two weeks until Jan. 28 when they will be increased from $10 to $15. Tickets for dinner and the dance are $30. The cocktail hour will begin at 5:30 p.m. with the dinner following at 6:30 p.m. and the dance at 8:30 p.m. Doors close at 11 p.m., and participants must show a photo ID at the door.

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