Thursday, December 3, 2020

SA revamps President’s Gala

Unity between students and faculty is the focus of this years Student Association’s annual President’s Gala. Unfortunately, there isn’t a president of the college.

After college president John Ettling retired at the end of the 2019 academic year, SUNY Plattsburgh has conducted two presidential candidate searches. While a president is being chosen, there isn’t an elected one to celebrate alongside SA President Essence Hightower.

In years past, the President’s Gala celebrated the end of the semester while honoring the commitment of the college president and the current SA president. Diverse food, music, performances, organizations and clubs look forward to the night.

Faculty, students and staff are usually encouraged to attend the themed Warren Ballroom gala in the Angell College Center. However, there is now a large transition in the event itself.

SA Activities Coordination Board proposed a different approach to this year’s gala, temporarily calling it December Gala. The Dec. 6 event will celebrate the semester and year coming to an end, giving students and faculty the chance to mingle outside of a classroom setting.

“We thought about changing it to gauge students and make it more interesting,” Vice President for Activities Lauren Safford said. “Because we don’t have a president right now, we knew we had to do something different.”

Faculty and staff have considered this year to be transitioning, possibly changing the gala and having different events at the president’s house instead in future years, Safford said. The new gala is centered around making faculty and students feel included and important.

“It gives students a place to meet new people,” Student Involvement Coordinator of Student Activities Rachel Wilcoxson said. “Any opportunity to bring folks together from different parts of campus is a good thing.”

The gala was successful in the past, but there’s room for improvement, Wilcoxson said. The attendance price has lowered from $10 to $3 because low attendance in recent years has become a recurring issue. By changing the price, SA is hoping  to build that attendance up again, making the gala more appealing to students.

“It’s hard to get students to go to anything on campus. Having to pay $10 to go to the President’s gala, is a hefty price for some students.” Safford said. “It was sit down dinners with dancing— I do think that was a little bit of a deterrent.”

A less formal event as advertised in past years, students are still encouraged to dress up and show out. Tickets can be purchased on tickets.plattsburgh.edu or in person at the information desk in the ACC. The gala will be held in the Myers Fine Arts Building Lobby, where students will be able to enjoy music, food, dancing and meeting new friends.

“People that did go, enjoyed themselves and felt appreciated,” Safford said. “It has been successful, but it’s time for a change.”

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