Fall Formal captivates Westmont students

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Zoe Contreras, The Horizon

Students dance together at Fall Formal

Chloe White, News Editor

At Santa Barbara’s Hilton Beachfront Resort, Westmont students whirled beneath string lights during Fall Formal on Nov. 13. This event, run by the Westmont Activities Council (WAC), enthralled the student body, soliciting over 800 attendees.

Saturday night’s Fall Formal marked Westmont’s first all-campus dance since the beginning of the pandemic. To comply with COVID-19 restrictions, the event was held outside rather than indoors as it has been in the past.

WAC originally planned for students to dance under the open sky, but an event held earlier in the day required a tent over the venue that could not be taken down before the dance. Event coordinator Connor Hess commented, “Originally, we were not happy at all, but we figured out a way to light up the inside of the tent to look like a starry night.” Hess’ other responsibilities included coordinating shuttles, organizing volunteers, and solidifying details like the food selection.

No matter the setup, students eager for a respite from the pandemic found friends, food and fun at the dance. Third-year student Andrew Medlock appreciated the event, saying, “It felt normal in such a comforting way to see so many people having fun together and getting to hang out all in one place. My favorite part was how the dance was outside this year. I thought that added to the festive atmosphere and also addressed COVID concerns.”

As there are few other opportunities for such a large proportion of students to gather simultaneously, Westmont’s dances reflect the spirit of the community. “Fall Formal wasn’t just a dance, it was a celebration of community and a time to see everyone you love all together,” observed Lydia Bastian, a third-year attendee. “My favorite part was seeing the smiles on everyone’s faces and dancing the whole night in the mosh pit. It was so fun to run into so many friends I love and being all together felt like the best reunion!” 

To Hess, events like these set Westmont apart from other colleges. “Events like Fall Formal encourage camaraderie between students through shared experiences, with everyone getting to be in one place all together, having a blast dancing. I have friends at other, larger schools who voiced that they so badly wish they had the same.”

Since there were no dances last year, Fall Formal was the first Westmont dance experience for roughly half of the student body. First-year Juliana Moore commented, “It was really good to be back at a dance for the first time since COVID. It felt very fancy and had such good desserts.” She added, “My favorite part was the dancing.”

The student body will reunite for the next all-campus dance at the President’s Ball in early spring.

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