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Planning a (Sold-Out) Night at The Casino Semi-Formal Dance!

Posted on 6/8/2023 10:16:05 AM

Written and Submitted by: Dom Petruzzelli ('26) 

“SOLD OUT!!!” These are words I never imagined seeing come through my inbox during the months of planning the Cabrini semi-formal dance, A Night at the Casino.

Prior to Cabrini’s most anticipated and successful dance in recent years, there were long months of organization, hard work, and dedication. The idea for the semi-formal originated one night during the fall semester at a Student Government Association (SGA) full board meeting when President Helen asked us to propose new ways to increase student engagement. I got to thinking and learned that Cabrini hadn’t had a dance for quite some time. I decided to approach the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) advisor, Britt Runyen, and this is where everything started to come together. We identified that we needed to collaborate with other clubs and organizations to pull this off. So, I got to work and drafted a proposal to bring to our next SGA meeting. Everyone in SGA was on board almost immediately, and we concluded that if we wanted this to be successful, it was essential that, what I now call, the “Big Three” work together: SGA, SAAC, and CAP Board (programming).

As the Spring semester rolled around, Britt, Bridget O’Donnell (Director for Student Engagement and Leadership (SEaL) and SGA Advisor), and I started hammering out logistics. We identified a team of student leaders to head various committees. When I say we brought in the “A” team, we had the best of the best working to make this dance come to fruition. Bridget managed things from the administrative side, and as Planning Committee Chair, I worked closely with her to organize many of the little details and tweaks needed throughout the planning process.

Students on the dance's planning committee

Other student leaders included Emily Wainwright as the Vendors Committee Chairperson, Lexi Chiarlone as the Decorating Committee Chairperson, and Abby Flanagan and Julia Malle as the Marketing Committee Chairpersons, and a special shoutout to Sam Frederick, who served as chief editor for the event flyers, which looked great! I could not have asked for a better group to lead the planning. Each of them played a significant role in coordinating the very successful dance.

After Spring Break, each committee comprised of students from different clubs, organizations, and sports teams began to meet biweekly. The diversity of the groups played a significant role in bringing different friend groups together and helping the event to sell out.

May 6th finally arrived, and it could not have gone any better! Everything was perfect.

Lexi and the Decorating Committee made Grace Hall magically transform into a casino! The space looked beautiful between the roulette table, the red carpet, the sparkling lights, and the glowing disco ball (shoutout to Cabrini’s awesome events department)!

As I walked onto the stage to thank everyone and acknowledge the dedication of the committees, I took a breath before shouting, “What’s up, Cabrini!” I looked around the Grace Hall Atrium, and both admired and appreciated this amazing moment. That moment is exactly what college should feel like the excitement, the singing and dancing, the friendships, and the fun. Simply spectacular.

We quite literally ended the semester with a full house!

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While many people may not have been aware of all of the planning stages, the amount of positive feedback completed the night.

"It was a great end-of-semester celebration, and I look forward to future dances," Lexi said.

“I truly enjoyed being a part of the planning process for the formal," Emily Wainwright said. "It was one of my greatest Cabrini memories! Seeing the formal take place that night made all the hard work worth it! I’m glad everyone enjoyed the night!”

“It was so great to see the planning and hard work really pay off through the awesome turnout and night we had," Abby said. "It was definitely a core memory made and something from college I will always remember. It makes it even more special knowing my friends and I helped plan it!”

“I hope that the semi-formal becomes a tradition at Cabrini," Julia said. "Now that we know so many students are interested, we can utilize bigger spaces on campus to host the event so that more students can attend and have the experience we did.”

Without the leadership of Bridget, Emily, Lexi, Abby, and Julia and the hard work of all the committee members, the dance would not have been possible.

Emily Rowan (‘17, MS’21), Senior Digital Media Manager and Cabrini Photographer said, “I have worked at Cabrini for six years and have never seen such a great event!” Other comments included, “I can’t wait for next year’s dance!” and “let’s have a dance in the fall semester too!”

All of the reactions were so encouraging! I am confident that student leaders will continue to work behind the scenes and plan events for their fellow Cavilers.

More event photos