In Copley, A Convergence Of Culture At Annual Ball

Nearly 650 students gathered at the Westin Copley Place in downtown Boston to celebrate the AHANA community at the Annual Ball on Saturday night, hosted by the Undergraduate Student Government of Boston College (UGBC). The four-hour long event, which ran from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., was planned and organized by the Diversity and Inclusion (DI) Programming Board, a subdivision of UGBC.

“The purpose of The Annual Ball is to have an event where students can come together and have fun in an inclusive and open environment,” said Alisha Wright, manager of the DI Programming Board and A&S ’15, in an email. “We really like Ball because it brings together people of so many different backgrounds and walks of life, and that has become a major goal for this event.”

The theme of the event was “Arabian Nights,” and posters explaining the history behind different facets of international culture were displayed throughout the ballroom.

“We chose Arabian Nights as our theme because we thought it would be beautiful, and because we wanted to be able to teach our guests about a culture that may be unfamiliar to them—in this case it was Saudi Arabian culture,” Seth Blanke, assistant manager of the DI Programming Board and CSOM ’16, said in an email.

The event featured a photo booth, as well as additions that were new and unique to this year’s ball: belly dancers and henna tattoo artists.

“I appreciate that there was an effort to bring excitement and new traditions to the Annual Ball,” said Yvonne Shih, CSON ’15. “The traditional belly dancers helped bring the people in the room at the start of the event.”

“I was surprised that there was a henna station this year, but given the theme of the night, it was very fitting,” said Noel Kim, LSOE ’15. “The woman who gave me an intricate design on my left hand was very friendly … Needless to say, I walked away very happy with mine.”

Alex Bou-Rhodes, A&S ’15, whose stage name is DJ Ides, played music for the event throughout the night. Bou-Rhodes has also played at other events, including the Annual Boat Cruise and the Annual Gala, as well as on and off campus.

“Students always love him, and we really love being able to have students get involved in our events and showcase their talents, so we thought he was a perfect fit,” Blanke said.

Various kinds of food were served throughout the night and divided into Italian, Mexican, Chinese, and Japanese areas, inside and outside the ballroom.

Among the dishes were pasta, tortellini, bread, tacos, dumplings, shumai, and sushi. The dessert selection ranged from chocolate-covered strawberries to chocolate cake, and beverages were also available.

“The food was very beautifully arranged and appetizing—my personal favorite was the Mexican cuisine,” Lia Zhou, A&S ’17, said. “I really loved the general mood of the dance. It felt like everyone was extremely happy, energetic, and unaffected by the incessant snow. Overall, I had an incredible experience, and there’s no doubt in my mind that I’m going to attend again next year.”

The DI Programming Board coordinated with the Westin to figure out the logistics of the event, from food to transportation to decorations.

“We go to the Westin time and time again because of their professionalism and we absolutely could not put on this amazing event without all of their help,” Wright said.

Ten other members of the DI Programming Board helped to plan and organize the ball, adding to the organization’s lineup of yearly, large-scale events, including The Annual Boat Cruise, The Annual Gala, and The Annual Showdown, which celebrate the AHANA and GLBTQ communities.

“It’s our job to plan inclusive and enriching events where all students feel comfortable and welcome,” Wright said. “Each event has many different dynamics and logistics that go into planning it, and the ball is extensive, and we get the chance to work with many different vendors and businesses, which is an awesome experience.”

Featured Image by Yanyi Weng / Heights Staff