By Rosie Alger
Elm Staff Writer
This year’s Birthday Ball is coming up on Feb. 21, and the Washington College community is buzzing about the big event. WC has a long history of celebrating its namesake, George Washington, and Birthday Ball is one of the school’s favorite ways to do that. A theme is chosen each year for the event, and this year, it is Mardi Gras. Experienced attendees have a ton of advice to give freshmen and new students regarding what to expect from George’s blowout birthday party.
One of the most common concerns that these new Birthday Ball participants may have revolves around what is appropriate to wear. The event is presented as black tie, but there is flexibility. Some students and faculty come dressed for the theme rather than simply in formal wear.
Sophomore Alex Kurtz said, “The great thing about Birthday Ball is that people honestly wear whatever they want, ranging from short dresses you’d typically see at Homecoming to more formal dresses. Yes, some people do dress based on the theme, especially the professors, which can get a bit interesting.”
Sophomore Alex Roberts said, “I would recommend dressing in a manner that is predominately formal, but you can show a little bit of a relaxed attitude in your clothing.” The main goal of the Ball is for students, faculty, staff, and community members to come together for a fun night of celebration.
While the theme of Birthday Ball definitely contributes to the overall experience, students shouldn’t feel pressured to dress according to theme if they are feeling unsure about it. For example, last year’s theme was Harry Potter. “The theme is maintained primarily by the scenery and the participation of faculty. Last year, our president rocked the Severus Snape look,” Roberts said.
So what makes this event so special? One exciting feature is that alumni and other WC community members come back to enjoy the festivities.
Junior Taylor Frey said, “I love Birthday Ball because it brings students, alumni, staff, and faculty together to celebrate the glory of our institution and its benefactor.”
There are also lots of delicious food at the event, and this year will be no exception with New Orleans-inspired dishes. Kurtz has definitely enjoyed the feast provided at the event in the past. She said, “The best part is hanging out with friends before and during Birthday Ball, although the food doesn’t hurt either.”
Finally, it is important to have fun and enjoy being with your friends, but also to remember to be safe.
“One thing I’d advise freshmen and new students to consider is that since there will be so many alumni and faculty members there, just remember to be responsible with your actions,” Kurtz said. Frey also said, “Have fun, but be safe and don’t go too crazy.”
Whether you are planning an outfit fitting for the New Orleans Mardi Gras parade or are just going to wear your favorite formal attire, the event is sure to be a blast. Come with a date, by yourself, or with a group of friends. What’s important is that new Birthday Ball attendees enjoy this unique experience as part of the WC family.
Tickets are free for current students, faculty, and staff, and are available at www.wcbirthdayball2015.eventbrite.com. You must claim your ticket by noon on Saturday, Feb. 21.