The end of February was not only marked by unusually warm weather, but also by the Founder’s Day Ball, an annual event established to mark Stevens Institute of Technology’s founding on Feb. 15, 1890. The Student Government Association in collaboration with the Office of Student Life hosted this year’s festivities at the Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ, the same location as last year’s celebration.
Students, adorned in fanciful evening attire, were whisked away by buses to the Liberty Science Center last Friday, where they first enjoyed a classy cocktail hour and jazz ensemble consisting of Stevens students. Those in attendance are considered the lucky ones, as tickets sold out shortly after the DuckSync form opened earlier in February.
The cocktail hour ended and the party began as students were ushered to a larger hall, complete with a DJ, dinner buffet, and spacious dance floor. Founder’s Day Ball Adhoc Committee Head Cristian Collado believes this year’s evening was a success. “As each year goes by, Founder’s Day Ball continuously evolves for the better,” he said. “We are always striving to provide students with a memorable celebration [and] this year it came with the introduction of the photo booth and a live cocktail hour jazz band!”
Associate Dean of Students Kristie Damell advised the Founder’s Day Ball for the past seven years, however, Christopher Shemanski assumed a more direct role this year, working closely with the Founder’s Day Ball Adhoc Committee. “I [think] they definitely stepped it up from last year in terms of using the space more effectively,” said Damell. She notes that the event—which started off with around 150 students in attendance in the Bissinger Room—has continued to grow in size, with over 600 to 700 people seeking admission. “I love that this has become a tradition, as it reminds us of Stevens history and takes time out to celebrate who we are as an institution.”
The Liberty Science Center atrium transformed into a physical space for students to momentarily forget upcoming midterm exams and instead enjoy a night dedicated to bringing students together for a night of socializing. “Founder’s Day Ball is one of the few offerings on campus that Stevens students get really excited about,” said Collado. “It feels good to see so many students come together and participate in a tradition that was started just eight years ago.”
Stevens students are prone to engrossing themselves in their work, whether it be by working tirelessly on design reports, experimental design, or a novel art installation; however, Founder’s Day Ball is dedicated to us, both as products of the institution, as young adults in need of the occasional break and most importantly, as students seeking further connection to our campus community.