Rocking the Red Carpet

Katie SamekStaff Writer

The Campus Activities Board would like to formally invite you to the 37th annual President’s Ball on Saturday, March 18 from 5-10 p.m. at the Mayo Clinic Event Center Grand Hall in downtown Mankato.

This event will feature a catered meal for all attendees, a dance featuring live music by the Blue Water Kings band, a 360-degree photo booth, and several other activities. There will also be a pre-taped address from President Rebecca Bergman, as well as live speeches from a few other guest speakers. The theme this year is ‘A Night on the Red Carpet’, and all attendees are encouraged to dress their best.

Ticket sales for this event have closed, and all purchased tickets have been distributed to student mailboxes. If you have purchased a ticket for this event, please remember to check your on-campus mailbox to collect it before the event.

For those who have not signed up for transportation to the event through the college, the Mayo Clinic Event Center is located at 1 Civic Center Plaza in downtown Mankato. Nearby parking garages are available for event parking, but they are known to fill up fast, and all free parking in the surrounding area is limited to 2 hours or less.

This event is coordinated and hosted exclusively by the Campus Activities Board, specifically the Traditions team. This year’s Traditions Co-Executives are Adam Nordquist ‘25 and Elizabeth Orton ‘25, and it is them, along with Board Co-Presidents Emma Ericson ‘24 and Nhu Nguyen ‘24 and Board advisor Garrett Meier ‘19, that form the backbone of not only the President’s Ball but many other events on campus.

The first President’s Ball in Gustavus’s history occurred in 1985 and has been an annual event every year since. The CAB co-president at that time thought of this event with the intent to give all students the opportunity to celebrate their time at Gustavus. Traditionally, the event swaps locations every other year, being held either in Mankato or Saint Peter. This year marks the thirty-eighth year of the event, despite being the 37th Annual President’s Ball, as the 2020 and 2021 events were canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Last year’s President’s Ball, ‘Aurora Borealis’, brought in an estimated 352 student attendees. According to current ticket sales statistics, this year will expand on that number by almost 120 attendees, bringing numbers closer to 480, which is almost a third of the student population on campus.

“Seeing the number of ticket sales this high is encouraging,” CAB Traditions Co-Executive Adam Nordquist said. “Not only does this mean that the pandemic’s effects are taking less of a toll on event attendance, but there is renewed interest from the student body to attend big events like this. Hopefully, the numbers will be even higher next year.”

Students are not the only attendees of the President’s Ball, of course – Gustavus staff and faculty members are also invited to attend, as are student leaders. 

By being open to everybody, the President’s Ball helps foster a feeling of connection that might not manifest between students and their peers on-campus.

“At its heart, the President’s Ball was built upon the relationships between the President, faculty, staff, and students as a way for all of us to come together at a single event and celebrate the Gustavus community,” Nordquist said. “Thirty-eight years later, here we are, continuing to celebrate what it means to be a Gustie.”

There are many good reasons to attend the President’s Ball; the food, the dance, the outfits, and the sense of community. Even those who may not be the most sociable are sure to find something to do at this event. But at its heart, the President’s Ball is about meeting new people, strengthening existing relationships, and connecting with the wider Gustavus community.

“The President’s Ball is a great excuse to go do something,” Nordquist said. “If you’re someone who goes out every weekend, we have weekend plans for you; if you’re someone who doesn’t go out at all, we have an event for you to be at. If you’re someone who likes to dress up all fancy, we’re presenting the opportunity; if you’re someone who prefers being a little more laid-back, we have the space for you. Overall, the President’s Ball is a spring formal at its core, designed to get Gusties in touch with each other and create friendships that last a lifetime.”