Presidents' Ball brings together GVSU community
From root beer floats to student groups displaying their vocal talents to Grand Valley State University President Thomas Haas dancing Gangnam Style with the GVSU Dance Team, the 2013 Presidents’ Ball was a night to remember for students, staff and faculty in attendance.
“I think (the ball) is important because while Grand Valley expands, it allows us to maintain the small school feel,” said Tendo Lukwago, executive vice president of Student Senate.
Haas said the President’s Ball is important for the GVSU community because it brings everyone together.
“I think it’s just one of those opportunities that create lasting relationships and create the memory of an evening,” Haas said. This is Haas and his wife’s seventh year attending Presidents’ Ball, and he said it continues to be a special night and tradition for them.
The best part of the night for Haas is seeing everyone come together, he said.
“I mentioned at dinner that there’s probably not another university in the states that has this type of activity for the students, and the students come out and it’s just a magical night,” Haas said.
With the ‘50s theme of “Let the Good Times Roll” came decorations including cardboard cutouts of famous favorite stars from the time period as well as toys and trinkets on the tables that added to the ‘50s feel.
“Every year we always go above and beyond, and I think that it’s always neat in its own way, seeing how we decorate to the theme and adjust to the theme,” Lukwago said.
Haas agreed that the decorations are what help to make the event special.
“I think each year they’re creative,” Lukwago said. “We have such great students who can create certain feels. Each year is different, each year is unique, and I’ve loved every single one of them.”
Also during the ball, several student groups performed, including the Swing Dance Club and CrossBow, which is a Celtic music group entirely made up of GVSU students.
Lisa Arnold, a member of the Public Relations Committee on Student Senate, said her favorite part of the night is the performances. “I like the live performances because they’re really good this year,” Arnold said.
Arnold said she thinks Presidents’ Ball is important because it gives students the chance to connect with others in the university.
“I think it’s really good because it gives students the chance to get out there and mingle with the faculty and students and just experience a great tradition that Grand Valley has to offer,” she said.
With all the work that has gone into planning and preparing for the night and the dance, Lukwago said he enjoys seeing everything come together. “My favorite part is seeing everything come to fruition, like all of Senate’s hard work and seeing everyone having a good time and enjoy the evening,” he said.
And enjoy the evening, they did.
“I think you see faculty, staff, students, family members, alumni coming back for this, and it becomes a community, a Grand Valley community,” Haas said. “And it’s just not focused with students, because we have so many other parts of our university coming together for a night in the wintertime. It’s snowing outside and it’s pretty magical. Even though it’s only about 10 degrees outside, you feel the warmth in this room because of the relationships that are either created or being sustained.”