Photo Credits: OLIVIA KOTLAREK / AGGIE
Prytanean Benefit Ball: an event to support the campus and community
The Prytanean Women’s Honor Society is hosting its annual Benefit Ball on Mar.10, 2019, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Walter A. Buehler Alumni Center. The annual ball not only provides togetherness for Prytanean women and the community but also supports Empower Yolo, an organization which aids those who have been victims of abuse. The event is a time for Prytanean women to continue to build one another up and have a safe, enjoyable night among friends and other individuals who wish to create change in all aspects of the community.
Emerald Tse, a fourth-year communication and political science double major and current president of Prytanean, provided her account of the Benefit Ball and the importance behind supporting Empower Yolo through the proceeds gained by the event.
“It can be difficult to volunteer for Empower Yolo since they deal with many sensitive cases, so the best way we can support them is by raising money and donating,” Tse said. “Benefit Ball is one of the main events we hold to do that. We always have music and occasional performances. We invite local businesses to see if they’re willing to contribute, so we can offer various raffle prizes.”
Performers include on-campus groups, like the various a cappella organizations, but Prytanean extends an invite to any group that is willing to come out for the night. The open-mic structure of this year’s event allows for greater creative expression for anyone that wants to share. Tse mentioned the emphasis placed this year on creating a more relaxed environment instead of the dance-hall connotation that the name suggests.
“The event used to be a dance type of event, which can be a lot of pressure for people to come out to,” Tse said. “We felt that, if we invite some performance groups on campus, it would make it a little less scary to come to and less formal. It’s very low pressure and engages other people in the community.”
Previous Benefit Ball events have been on a smaller scale, according to Tse, but the performances and money raised always exceeded expectations. Tse noted that the fundraiser typically raises $1,000 every year, but this year she hopes to reach $1,500 to provide even more support and awareness.
Sophia Racke, a third-year international relations major and the social vice president for Prytanean, spoke about her preparation for the event and the goals she has in mind.
“Since the spring of last year, I’ve been thinking about the event,” Racke said. “This quarter, I had to buckle down and get working on it. It’s a lot more than I originally thought.”
Luckily for Racke, the effort is not hers alone as the members work together as a team to put on this event.
“We have subcommittees, like marketing that advertises the event and make flyers, and also the preparations committee that handle decorating and the overall set up,” Racke said. “The last committee, the most important one to me, is the fundraising committee that reach out to the businesses and ask for donations.”
For the marketing subcommittee, led by Aiden Lafreniere, the task of publicizing the event can quickly become cumbersome, but Lafreniere and her group work diligently to ensure the event has the traffic it needs to reach the larger Davis community.
“There’s a lot more than I anticipated when taking on marketing,” Lafreniere said. “Trying to figure out how to create flyers and tickets with an aesthetic that’s appealing was something I didn’t really think would be a challenge, but luckily we have girls that are really talented designers that work hard in trying to come up with something beautiful.”
In Racke’s experience, the Benefit Ball has always been a positive event, but she wants to change how the event is handled in hopes of reaching a wider audience than just Prytanean members.
“Last year, I was the marketing subcommittee leader, and my team and I were really excited for the event, but I felt like it wasn’t quite what I expected,” Racke said. “After marketing to so many people, I didn’t feel like we brought a lot of people in. That’s why I ran to be social vice president this year; I wanted it to be a much bigger event.”
Lafreniere also commented on the previous atmosphere of the event and how, by bringing in more diverse performances this year, she hopes the vibe will become more socially friendly than it has been before.
“Previously, we found that the environment didn’t allow for people to be as social, and we had some trouble with a few of the performances,” Lafreniere said. “I think the biggest thing this year is trying to figure out how we can change things and reach more people.”
Racke believes the new venue will also help make the event more accessible since finding a place on campus means more students and members of the community can come out and show support. She shared the pride her and the other members have in raising awareness of the service that Empower Yolo provides. They hope to elevate their position and encourage anyone who needs assistance to reach out.
Written By: VINCENT SANCHEZ – firstname.lastname@example.org