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MASQUERADE BALL UNVEILS UNIQUE VISION FOR RESIDENT HOUSING ASSOCIATION

January 14, 2011 - The Resident Housing Association (RHA) sponsored winter dance is an annual event on the Aquinas College campus. However this year’s Masquerade Ball introduced a unique theme and a series of events unparalleled by past RHA activities. The tradition of a themed winter dance began in December 2009, when the RHA hosted "Christmas in Vegas." Noting the success of this unique approach, RHA members decided to develop an idea that would not only attract students to the dance itself, but also facilitate additional related events on campus.

For the first event in the Masquerade Ball Series, Health, Physical Education and Recreation Adjunct Professor Scott Ayotte led an afternoon of ballroom dance instruction on campus. The free and fun event enabled students to prepare for dancing at the upcoming Masquerade Ball. Students, and a few adventurous faculty members, practiced the challenging steps of ballroom dance while socializing with fellow Aquinas community members.

The second installment in the Masquerade Ball Series was a free mask-making party. This event provided materials for making creative masks which could be utilized at the Ball itself or simply taken home as souvenirs. Instead of having students provide their own masks and costumes, the RHA wanted to invite the entire campus to develop their own unique masks and participate in the excitement of the masquerade theme. “It was a great success,” said Woodward Area RHA Representative and AQ junior Chelsie Stevens.

The third and final event of the series was the Masquerade Ball itself. “What really impressed me was that they had the idea to invite the men’s a capella group,” said College Housing Director and RHA advisor Randy MacGeorge. During the live performance by the members of AQ’s Fermata Nowhere, “everybody just mobbed the stage,” said MacGeorge. He went on to say that this unique twenty minute performance was an entertaining highlight for students and staff.

To add some humor and school spirit to the occasion, AQ mascot Nelson the Saint Bernard made an entertaining appearance at the Ball and also promoted the event at the basketball games held earlier in the day. Classic Carriages provided free carriage rides around campus, which added to the ambience of a formal winter evening, and professional photography by Eric Stoike helped provide lasting memories.

With the successful combination of pre-dance events, student promotion, and a variety of event activities, RHA Chairperson and AQ senior Robert Hamel said, “I know that students were talking about it for days afterwards and everyone in RHA was still receiving compliments for the next week.” RHA members plan to continue the tradition of inexpensive social events at Aquinas that increase school spirit and, as avowed in the organization’s mission statement, “improve the quality of life on campus.”