The Westhampton College Ring Dance will take place on March 25 at the Omni Hotel after it was postponed twice because of COVID-19.
The new date was sent out to the Westhampton Class of 2022 and their families in an email from Westhampton College Dean Mia Reinoso Genoni on Jan. 21, less than two weeks after the postponement was announced.
Ring Dance is traditionally an event for Westhampton College junior class students and their families to celebrate the transition from sophomore to junior year, according to the website. But because of the postponements, both the Class of 2022 and 2023 will celebrate during their senior year.
Senior Deirdre McLaughlin said having Ring Dance during her last year served as a final celebration. At the same time, it was a little sad that the seniors couldn’t have it at the same time that everyone else usually does, she said.
“I'm just glad we're able to have it at all,” said junior Elle Harper.
The timing of the postponement created difficulties for many students, such as Senior Steffie Bongers who isn’t going to attend the event.
Bongers, who plays field hockey at UR, has a game the morning after Ring Dance. Because the team members signed a contract that would require them to leave social events before 9 p.m. the night before a game and includes drinking restrictions, she can’t attend, she said.
“We wouldn't really be able to fully experience the Ring Dance like other students can,” she said. “So it just wouldn't make any sense for us to go.”
Bongers said that the juniors on the team would also have difficulty attending Ring Dance in the fall because of a game the next day.
“Especially with COVID and us not being able to really go to any social event for a long time,” she said. “Everyone was really looking forward to doing this again.”
McLaughlin also felt it would have been nice to have it earlier in the year when there’s not as much going on.
“Whereas like, now, I feel like things are starting to pick up and we only have a few weeks until graduation,” she said.
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The switch to the Omni Richmond Hotel from the Jefferson Hotel just added another layer of difficulty to the event because seniors don’t know what the inside looks like or if there’s a staircase to go down like the one at the Jefferson, McLaughlin said.
“Being at the Jefferson is like such a big and like iconic part of it,” McLaughlin said.
Harper agreed that the venue switch had been upsetting but was glad that the Omni’s larger capacity could accommodate everyone and was just really looking forward to celebrating with her senior friends, she said.
Seniors who are not participating in the earlier part of the event and juniors are still invited to attend the after-party at 10 p.m., wrote Kerry Fankhauser, associate dean of Westhampton College, in an email to students on March 1.
“We recognize that many senior Westhampton students hope to share the night with friends in other classes,” Fankhauser wrote.
Harper said she was also really excited for the after-party and thought it was a great way for everyone to come together, especially with limited tickets to the earlier event.
The students not participating in or attending the earlier event will be required to present their UR ID and a valid government-issued ID as well as pay a cash cover of $20 before entering the after-party, Fankhauser wrote.
To ensure that only upper-class students are attending the event at a reduced rate, security officers at the entrances will have junior and senior class lists on hand and will be checking IDs against these lists, Fankhauser wrote.
UR will also offer a shuttle service between campus and the Omni beginning at 5 p.m. the night of ring dance, Fankhauser wrote. The bus will leave campus every hour and the Omni on the half-hour until midnight when it will depart the Omni for its last trip to campus, according to the email.
Editor-in-chief Jackie Llanos contributed to reporting.
Contact news editor Natasha Sokoloff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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