Drinks were flowing and music was blaring through the speakers as President Van Aken danced side by side with students and alumni in a transformed Founders Lounge in honor of the President’s Inauguration Ball on Friday, Oct. 22.
The scene was that of a proper party or perhaps a high school senior prom as attendants dressed varying attires to celebrate the inauguration of the new president. While some came in their very best suits and dresses, others elected to wear more casual party wear for the night’s festivities.
The normally carpeted area at the front of the Founder’s Lounge was replaced with a full wooden dance floor which was promptly filled with guests dancing so vigorously that the floor shook with the weight of the party. The guests danced to a mixture of pop, hip hop and country favorites as well as live performances from multiple artists.
The student turnout at the event was sizeable, and senior Shane Vincent explained his eagerness to attend the ball as it presented a unique opportunity for a campus party.
“The inaugural ball was a fantastic time. It was a good opportunity for students to meet alumni and to do some networking. It was also nice to be able to do an event at Elmhurst that wasn’t alcohol free,” he said. “I also enjoyed how they put a dance floor out, it made the ball that much more fun.”
Junior Kelsey Baron was surprised by the event, noting the choice to serve alcohol as a welcome change even though she was not allowed to drink due to age.
“It was good, I think it went a lot better than I was expecting ... I thought it was pretty cool that they had booze,” she said. “Even though I wasn’t allowed to have any, but it just felt more fancy with people drinking wine. It’s nice to have an event like that for the whole school to go to.”
The presence of alcohol in the room was clear as many students and others were noticeably inebriated as the night went on. One female student even had to be helped outside the ball after having a few too many. Campus security tried to assist her in getting home afterwards.
Among the many festivities going on at the ball, there was also a viewing party of the Cubs NCLS championship game in the Bloom board room. Dozens of guests crammed into the board room to see the Cubs take victory over the LA Dodgers.
This ball marked one of the only occasions where alcohol was served at a school function such as this. Any guest at the ball could go up and order a drink if they were of legal age, students included. The drink were however limited to a single glass of wine or beer an hour.
During the inaugural ceremony that preceded the ball, Van Aken previewed the ball giving credit to the planning commit- tee that helped put together the party as well as all the events of the week leading up to the inaugural ceremony.
“I also like to have fun and I like to celebrate successes, especially when it involves students,” he said. “So when it came time to start planning today’s activities in this inauguration, I challenged the committee to focus the week of activities on student achievement and put together a joyful and meaningful celebration that would have as little financial impact as possible on this institution.”
Steven Goodwin, director of dining services for Chartwells at EC was among the many in attendance and helped clarify the large role Chartwells had in the organization of the night’s festivities.
“This was a $25,000 event. Chartwells put up all of the $25,000. This entire thing is a Chartwells funded event.”
Though the ball was held for a very special occasion, Goodwin revealed that more events like the ball are coming in the near future.
“There are some upcoming holiday events on the books. Like a traditional Thanksgiving dinner has now changed to a holiday dinner. And that will be an Elmhurst College and Chartwells sponsored event also. It will look bigger than it ever has before.”