On the evening of October 1, 2010, Fairfield University’s annual Presidential Ball was held on Bellarmine Lawn, giving students a much-appreciated break from their regular weekend routines. The “Pres Ball,” as students refer to it, is one of the most highly anticipated school-sponsored events on campus each year. It began in 2004 as the Inaugural Ball for Rev. Jeffrey P. von Arx, S.J., the same weekend he was inaugurated as the President of the University. It has since become a Fairfield tradition because of the number of students who look forward to it each year, says Fr. von Arx, adding “I enjoy the event myself. It’s great to see so many students together under one tent.”
The first time I heard about the Pres Ball was at freshmen orientation in June, when my Orientation Leaders raved about it. I made sure I showed up on campus prepared, with a dress I bought specifically for the Ball. As the date approached, the buzz around campus was heard everywhere. Just about everyone I asked was planning to attend. The excitement built as Friday got closer, and on the morning of the event I was making lists in my head of what had to be done for me to get ready in time.
As the 8 o’clock hour neared, groups of students dressed to the nines began walking toward Bellarmine Hall, turning the campus into “the place” to see and be seen. All 1,500 students who came, entered the terrace to meet and greet Fr. von Arx, shake his hand, and take a photo to commemorate the evening. Next, students headed toward the white tents set up on the lawn, claimed space on a table with their belongings, and headed straight to the dance floor. The strobe and colored lights shone down on the crowd who danced the night away while also taking breaks for hor’s d’oeuvres and drinks that were set up on tables alongside the tents throughout the night.
After almost 4 hours of fast-paced dancing, the crowd of students started to pack their belongings, put their shoes back on, and walk back to their dorms. Although the majority of students who attended were freshman and sophomores, juniors and seniors also attended – some for the first time. Brian Ng ’12, a junior, said, “This was my first Pres Ball and I can honestly say it was one of the most fun school events I have ever been to. I regret not going to the last two dances now!”
Adds Mary Alice Limperopulos ’13, a sophomore, “The Pres Ball is the highlight of the fall semester here at Fairfield. It’s so much fun to get dressed up with so many other Fairfield students to dance and socialize on a cool autumn evening.”
Walking back to my dorm with my group of friends, my shoes in hand, was a great ending to one of the best nights I have spent on campus so far. The Pres Ball was everything everyone said it would be – I ate, danced, sang, and laughed for hours. It occurs to me that the lawn on which I danced the night away with my classmates will be the same one I walk across to receive my diploma in four years. By then I will know the campus, my friends, and all that Fairfield University has to offer so much better. At the moment, I feel I’m off to a good start!
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