Ring Dance, a Westhampton College tradition during which junior women celebrate their academic achievements at the Jefferson Hotel, proceeded smoothly Saturday night, a break from the controversy of previous years.
“It was another outstanding event honoring the accomplishments of this year’s class of students as they were surrounded by those who support them,” Mark Paterson, director of sales and marketing at the Jefferson Hotel, wrote in an email. “As always, it was an honor to host this program.”
Ring Dance 2014 was the last ceremony in which junior women were allowed to wear white gowns and walk with traditionally male escorts down the Jefferson stairs. Damages to the Jefferson Hotel during Ring Dance that year also caused security to be tightened in 2015.
Controversy over the policy changes erupted at Ring Dance 2015 when escorts disrupted and temporarily stopped the ceremony. The ceremony resumed shortly after and escorts were allowed to walk with the women. The escort policy was changed again for 2016 to allow each woman to choose up to two escorts.
This year’s ceremony was the second year to reflect the latest policy changes.
Cat Sciolla, WC ’18 president, was in charge of planning Ring Dance this year, a stressful but rewarding endeavor, she said.
“It was a great, great year, it was one of our best years yet, I would say,” Sciolla said.
Brittney D’Oleo, WC ’18, walked down the stairs with her close friend Michael Cevallos, RC ’18, because her family could not attend.
“I thought it was great,” D’Oleo said. “[The processional] was obviously long but I think everyone enjoyed themselves.”
Kristina Rossi, WC ’18, said she thought Ring Dance was a good way to celebrate all the friendships the junior women had made and the families that supported them.
“Every person here is glowing because they’re happy to be with their friends and their family and everybody comes together,” Rossi said.
Contact news writer Ashlee Korlach at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Ashlee on Twitter at @ashtaykor.