Prom! Here We Go Again

Renny Acheson, Staff Reporter

During the evening of Saturday, Apr. 6, the Reid Campus Ballroom exuded an ambience of light-hearted, nostalgic celebration. For one evening, the Whitman Events Board (WEB) transformed the ballroom into an immersive and festive event that gave students the opportunity to revisit fond memories from high school, have a second chance after a disappointing experience or experience prom for the first time. 


“Prom! Here We Go Again” featured a variety of attractions, including an ice cream sundae bar, a photo booth, Bon Appetit-catered appetizers and two hours of live music from student bands such as JV Jazz and Weed Campus Center.  

WEB Creative Arts Director Zaynab Brown ‘19 said, “We wanted to do some sort of event where everyone on the Whitman Events Board got to participate.”


The decorations of the event emulated both the traditional visual setting of proms and the arrival of spring and warmer weather. In addition to flowers and silver fringe curtains on the walls, WEB worked with a local vendor to create a balloon installation that soared over the heads of guests.   


WEB Music Director Cara Casper ‘19 explained, “I think our inspiration was ’80s coming-of-age movies, with the essential prom scene.”


Along with inspirations from film, WEB drew upon the tradition of community-centered dances at Whitman in the past.


Brown said, “I was actually just looking at some yearbooks from the 1950s, and they used to hold, actually, a homecoming and lots of school-wide dances. I think they have in more recent past as well, but there hasn’t been one since we’ve been here.”


Though the event is a throwback to the past, it reframes our expectations around the experience. The event’s dress code — “Formal attire ADMIRED but not required” — presented students with an occasion to wear an elegant dress, a dapper suit or anything in between.  


WEB Chair Sarah Rothschild explained, We’d been talking about doing a big ballroom-themed event for a while, since last semester, especially something that would give people the opportunity to dress up, for people who don’t go to sorority or fraternity formals.”  


While some guests did dress in formal wear, others opted for a more relaxed approach. WEB fully intended to eliminate any assumption of having to wear the most beautiful prom dress or have a date.


Casper said, “I think it’s prom without the pressure. In high school there’s a lot of pressure to find the perfect dress, or to ask somebody or get asked, which is very stressful.”  


Furthermore, WEB strove to create an equitable experience for all students, regardless of past prom experience or socioeconomic status.


“We’re not doing invitations. It’s very accessible, because sometimes prom was unaccessible in high school if you had to pay to go,” Brown added. “I think what’s cool about it is that you can put however much energy you want into it.”


With an extravagant balloon art piece hanging overhead and a wall adorned with flowers, WEB channeled the essence of what proms should be: fun, inclusive, lighthearted events to celebrate community and friendship.