38th annual President’s Ball comes back to raise the roof on GAC campus

Grace LaTourelle-

The 38th annual President’s Ball will take place on Saturday, March 16, 2024, at Mayo Clinic Health System Event Center in Mankato. The doors will open at 4:30 p.m. and close at 5:45 p.m., with the event lasting until 10:00 p.m. The theme of this year’s event is Secret Garden.

“We want it to feel like a garden party with the whole school there,” Traditions Co-Executive and Sophomore Nora Henson said.

P-ball is a long-standing tradition at Gustavus, started by a previous CAB president 38 years ago. Along with student attendance, faculty also attend as “VIPs”, with many noted as looking forward to the event.

“[It] was created as a way for students to have fun with each other and create new connections,” Traditions Co-Executive and Sophomore Lupe Olague said. “It’s not just for the students, it’s a way for faculty and staff…to come and enjoy and also communicate with the students in a non-formal educational way.”

The event will begin with a social hour starting the minute the doors open. This time is built in for connection and community building between students and faculty. Before dinner, there will be two speeches. The first will be given by the CAB Traditions Co-Executives to thank those who helped to plan the event and to honor past CAB presidents. The second, traditionally given by the Gustavus President, will be given by Interim Dean of Students, Charlie Potts in Becky Bergman’s absence. Potts will address the community of Gustavus and the faculty-student relationships on campus.

“He has really established a great connection with all the student body,” Olague said.

Dinner will follow at 6:00 p.m. with meals that were chosen prior by each individual and will end around 7:00 p.m. The meal choices were either a stuffed pepper vegetarian option or a chicken option. Dessert will be chocolate-covered strawberries and cookies. There will also be a cash bar, available for students 21 years and older. A valid ID will need to be presented to security in exchange for a wristband that grants access to the bar.

“[Students are] able to enjoy that and able to drink responsibly for the night,” Olague said.

Students have the ability to choose seating with their friend group, but some groups might be combined at tables. Henson and Olague encourage conversation between people who might be strangers.

“You’ll have a new friend in some way or another,” Olague said.

Transportation is available for everyone to and from the event for five dollars and is encouraged to be utilized, especially concerning those who plan on purchasing drinks at the bar.

Along with the proceeding dance, there will also be an activity upstairs for those who might want a break from dancing, and photo opportunities including a 360 Photo Booth. Students can customize their experience as well via the opportunity to add their own song requests to the live playlist. The link was sent out in an email.

In the past, P-ball has warranted formal gowns and tuxedos. CAB encourages students to express themselves in this event through their outfits, makeup, and dancing.

“It’s formal in a be-yourself type of way,” Olague said.

Students across campus have also expressed grievances about missing out on ticket sales due to the 400 available tickets selling out before the March 8th deadline. Olague explained that P-ball is treated as any other event on campus, allocating a certain number to the maximum. 400 tickets had to be the limit in order to pull the large-scale event off.

“We’re bummed about it too,” Henson said. “We wish everyone could be there but it’s just not possible.”

Not only is the President’s Ball usually one of the most well-attended events of each school year, but this year will be the highest-attended President’s Ball in its history. Including VIP faculty, student attendees, and CAB members, there will be around 500 people in attendance.

“It’s a one-of-a-kind, unique experience,” Olague said. Olague and Henson wanted to thank their fellow Cabbies for the work, dedication, and support that they put into their vision and planning of P-Ball.

“We both feel so lucky to put our own spin on it this year and make creative decisions,” Henson said. “I’m honored that so many people want to come to something we’re throwing with the support of our other Cabbies…”

Henson and Olague similarly hope that students and faculty alike can enjoy themselves, make new connections and friendships, and build up the Gustavus community.

“It’s a way to…celebrate being a Gustie,” Henson said.


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