On Saturday night, NYU’s iconic Bobcat mascot break-danced amidst a crowd of students in the atrium of Bobst Library during the university’s annual Violet Ball. Every floor of Bobst — aside from the atrium and the two lower levels — was closed and the lights blacked out, confining the 1,000 students in attendance to these areas.
For those who ponied up the $20 fee to attend this year’s ball — the penultimate event of NYU’s 27th annual spirit week — there was an ice sculpture, a playlist full of unforgettable 21st century pop songs and the rare experience of using Bobst for something other than cramming for final exams. The initial batch of 800 tickets for the dance sold out after they were released on Feb. 4, so the Violet Committee released another 50 tickets last Wednesday for any last-minute party-goers.
The library was transformed from studious to luxurious with a spread of finger foods and a bar serving champagne, wine and cocktails to those over 21. As guests began to filter out around 11 p.m., Violet 100 volunteers handed out customized wine glasses.
Tandon graduate student and Spirit Week Ambassador Sanjukta Phadke said that the event was very well-planned and well-executed. She said that since this is her first year at NYU, being selected as an ambassador was a brilliant opportunity to become a part of student government.
“I enjoyed being a part of the Spirit Week team and we all felt equally involved in organizing each of the events,” Phadke said. “It was mandatory for all the ambassadors to attend an orientation program where each one of us was split into teams to undergo a situational training.”
Phadke also said that as a Tandon student, Violet Ball gave her an opportunity to socialize with students from the Manhattan campus.
“Being a student of NYU Tandon, it was an amazing experience for me to interact with students from diverse majors and backgrounds at the Washington Square campus,” Phadke said. “Previously I have been the Secretary of the Student Council in my undergraduate school, but being a part of the NYU Spirit Week exposed me to a world of new experiences — both culturally and personally.”
She said that Violet Ball helped bridge the gaps between students and facilitate strong connections by bringing together students from different majors, grades and schools. Phadke commented that if she were to change anything next year, it would be to involve students from all the NYU schools in planning the event. Phadke said that during her shift at the check-in table, she met a few students from the NYU College of Dentistry who weren’t aware of what was happening at Bobst and were simply out for a stroll.
Stern freshman and freshman class Vice President of Stern Student Council Antonio Di Meglio said he decided to go to Violet Ball to commemorate the fantastic week of Violet 100.
“I loved seeing all the people there having a good time,” Di Meglio said. “It really aided the sense of community that we have here at NYU. Also having the Bobcat there was really awesome.”
He thought that although student government did a great job organizing the party and emphasizing the central message of community, the logistics could have been planned better.
“The food was all the way in the back and people were crowded in certain areas,” Di Meglio said. “But I got to see a lot of my friends from different schools at NYU. I think it’s really important for NYU Student Government to have a role in creating community, and this event definitely aided that goal.”
Di Meglio also said that the event could have been marketed a little better. He thinks that there wasn’t much diversity in terms of the graduating classes of the guests — he felt that there was a disproportionate number of upperclassmen and not enough freshmen.
Gallatin junior Ben Natan also attended, and he said the ball was excellent. He thought the DJ was fantastic and that the food and beverages set-up was also great. Natan said that overall, the event succeeded in creating a sense of community — a feeling NYU is often criticized for lacking.
“In terms of community experience, there was definitely a sense of shared experience,” Natan said. “I don’t know if it felt like summer camp or anything like that, but I definitely felt comfortable with my fellow classmates. There was certainly a feeling of comfortability and belonging.”
Natan said that if he were to change one thing, he would put more emphasis on the social component of the dance. He thinks that instead of putting tables on the dance floor, which made it difficult to mingle, more open socializing could have led to an even more community-based and cohesive event.
Global Public Health student Pakhtana Hamed was one of the few graduate students to attend to attend the event. She said that after the night’s success, she will definitely be attending the ball again next year. Hamed claimed the people working the event did a great job of keeping things in check, and she said that overall there was a great sense of school unity.
“In my opinion, I do believe that the ball created a sense of community as I was able to meet and greet so many other individuals,” Hamed said. “I would like to mention that it was difficult coming across tickets and I would like NYU to maybe choose another venue to host such an event so that more people can attend.”
Email Jemima McEvoy at [email protected]