Spring Formal brings prom-like dance to Winona State

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Joseph Eichele

Housing and Residence Life threw the “Spring Formal” event after students at Winona State University approached Housing and Community Mentor students with the idea for a dance. For students who never got to attend their high school proms due to COVID-19, the Spring Formal was set up similarly to a traditional prom dance.

Gabriel Hathaway, features editor

This past Saturday, Winona State University’s Housing and Residence Life hosted their first dance in more than seven years. The “Spring Formal” event was put on by the Community Mentors (CM) with help from PRISM, formerly known as Full Spectrum.

The theme of the dance was “An Enchanted Evening” and featured lights and decorum to fit. There were also several photo-op locations designed for the event, strung with twinkle lights, with catering was provided by Chartwells, a mocktail bar and a dance floor lit up with colorful lights with a DJ.

Sarah Olcott, the associate director of housing and residence life, said many CMs inspired the event, wanting to put on the Spring Formal.

“They talked about in the meeting, a lot of these students never had their prom or chose not to go because of different concerns, so this might be a time now that we are out of masks that people can let loose and have fun,” Olcott said.

PRISM helped out at the dance by handling the mocktail bar, offering several nonalcoholic mixed drinks. Mayme Nelson, a fourth-year student and the president of PRISM, commented on why they wanted to be a part of the event.

“Our club has been wanting to do a dance because not everybody was able to go to a dance with their partner because they went to a catholic school or something like that,” Nelson said.

Winona State students filling the dance floor at the start of the Spring Formal. (Joseph Eichele)

Nelson also explained the reason for the club’s recent name change.

“Some people didn’t understand why we were called Full Spectrum, and we wanted to keep it kind of not super obvious so kids who weren’t out to their parents could still say they were going to PRISM or going to a club and talk about the club without outing themselves. So that’s why we went with PRISM, because prisms make rainbows,” Nelson said.

The Residence Housing Association (RHA) used to put on two dances a year, Olcott said, one in the winter and one in the spring. The reason for the dances stopping, Olcott posits, comes down to student interest, both from the organizers and attendees.

“These ideas come from the students, so they have to be excited for the event for it to be a success,” Olcott explained.

Savannah Egger, a third-year student and one of the CMs who organized the dance, echoed Olcott’s sentiment about events requiring interest.

“A lot of it really does depend on student interest. One thing that I think [CMs] all have said is, if residents have ideas for events they want to see or things they want to do, just speak up at your hall council meetings,” Egger said. “Or tell your RA, tell your CM, because I think we are all pretty responsive to what residents want to do.”

The Spring Formal ran from 7 to 10 p.m. and there was scarcely a time when the dance floor was not packed, the air buzzing with excitement and fun. Many people enjoyed the mocktail bar, food and music.

Cheese and pita bread, cupcakes, spring rolls with dipping sauce and more were free for dance attendees.
Cheese and pita bread, cupcakes, spring rolls with dipping sauce and more were free for dance attendees. (Joseph Eichele)

Max Davis, a first-year student, was the DJ for the event. Davis has previously DJed for the Valentine’s Day dance put on by the Warrior Entertainment Network.

Egger explained how the CM job differs from a Resident Assistant (RA) job.

“We are really more about building community. We do a lot of campus-wide events, we do a lot of things that try to bring the campus together and try to connect the different residence halls together,” Egger said. “The RA position is different in the sense that it is floor-based, so people are really able to gain connections and build relationships with their RAs.”

There are still two more CM events this semester to look forward to–a dunk tank fundraiser on April 21 and NERF Wars on April 23 in the Talbot Gym.