The start of spring semester means many things – friend reunions, classes, stress, and of course, Winter Formal. Although perhaps one of the lesser known traditions of which Swarthmore prides itself, Winter Formal is just one of those ‘Yes, we’re still a college in America and we do kind of normal stuff sometimes’ things. If you don’t know what I mean by that, just reference our now disintegrated traditions of the Dash for Cash or perhaps the more well known Crunkfest.
Anyways, I digress. This year, Winter Formal managed to be somewhat of a rager, much to the surprise of Emma De Luca-Ricci ’21.
“Formal definitely exceeded my expectations in terms of the setup downstairs,” De Luca-Ricci said. “The arcade games were super fun, even though they had nothing to do with the theme.”
Our beloved Essie’s, where most students have many fond memories of warm food and good gossip, was shut down for the night and done up for the event. Once students actually entered Essie’s, they found arcade games aplenty, such as skeeball and basketball, brewing friendly competition among friends. It felt as though, for what seemed like the first time in a long time, planning committees had actually pulled out all the stops to guarantee a good time. Swat provided soft pretzels, a formal tradition of sorts, and as a pleasant surprise to many, fondue aplenty.
“I really loved the fanciful array of options they offered for us to enjoy with the chocolate fondue dip,” says Sophie Moody ’19. “Compared to other large school parties (such as Halloween), the food at Formal was by far the best.”
But besides great food and fun arcade games, Formal managed to deliver even on the dance floor, playing beats to which all types of students were able to let loose. Although Ricci was disappointed
by Upper Tarble, as it did not appear to be very decorated, she says this was countered by the fact that everyone was in a great mood, which helped her meet a lot of great new people.
The theme, announced sometime before the big event, was supposed to be “masquerade ball”. Guests were asked to wear masks, and a mask making workshop was even hosted by OSE Interns to try and make this theme a reality. However, it seemed as though students disregarded these outlines. Many students showed up maskless, and those who did have masks rarely donned them. However, OSE made sure everyone had a chance to
participate in the masquerade, providing pre-decorated masks for the students in the lobby area.
One thing that students seemed to be able to agree on was the quality of the music. Even though music is often the center of such big events, it is often thought to be lacking or subpar by the general student population. Although this may be attributed to the very diverse music taste of the general student body, it often also comes down to the quality itself. The music simply does not deliver. However, this year’s formal seems to have turned the tide.
Frank Kenny, ’20, admits that Formal was different than he had imagined it would be, and that he and his friends “had a grand time.”
“I particularly liked the mix of Latin pop/reggaeton that was offered, which is unequivocally better than the hideous auditory garbage played at the conventional party institutions such as Triangle Y [Delta Upsilon],” says Kenny, a habitual partygoer whose music taste is arguably hard to please. Yet, Formal managed to meet his expectations and even, “convince me to stay up past my bedtime.”
Although school-hosted parties tend to get a bad rep for their music selection and lack of fun and excitement, this year’s Winter Formal seems to have delivered more than the rest. From getting self-proclaimed hermits like Kenny to joining in the celebrations with old friends to making memories with new friends as in the case of Ricci, Swat Winter Formal 2018 seems to have knocked it out of the park. Perhaps Formal will be an indication for the future of Swarthmore hosted parties, but only time will tell.