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Homecoming Rounds Out Midterm Season

Students Celebrate 11:11 at the Sheraton Boston


Published: Sunday, November 13, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01


Graham Beck / Heights Staff


Graham Beck / Heights Staff

At 9 p.m. last Friday, over a thousand students shuffled into the Sheraton Boston's Republic Ballroom. By 11:10 p.m., the throng of semi-formally adorned bodies was in full sway on the dance floor – a space normally used for trade shows and corporate conventions. A woman in a red dress danced in the corner, alone; a man was kissed by the French fry buffet. At 11:11, the balloons came down.

This year's Homecoming dance, courtesy of the UGBC, served as a breath of air for many students, marking the end of midterm season and coinciding with the football team's third win of the fall.

"It was a tough couple of weeks with midterms, but it was a nice event to get all your girlfriends together," said Ji Yoon Chung, an RA in Williams Hall and CSOM '12. "Everyone has different schedules and it's tough to get everyone together. What's great about homecoming is that you know everyone's going to be there. As seniors, we felt obligated to go. We're not going to be able to do this again."

The dance – one of the largest events on the UGBC calendar – comes amid a University investigation into the campus' binge drinking culture and a moratorium on all large-scale events in Conte Forum. Last year's Fall Concert featuring Kid Cudi saw about 40 transports, while the Spring Concert – featuring J. Cole and Wale – saw about 30 transports.

According to UGBC officials, there were few transports during the dance. Security guards at the door said they had confiscated only a "handful of nips" from students and turned away less than a dozen would-be smugglers.

"The event went very well in terms of drinking incidents," said Michael Kitlas, UGBC president and A&S '12. "From my perspective, we are showing some positive changes from the events we've put on so far this semester."

Drinking was not the only concern this year, though. The UGBC has worked over the past three years to perfect the model for the homecoming dance. The 2009 dance – held in the Mod parking lot – drew a number of noise complaints from neighbors, obliging University officials to reconsider the dance's home on campus. Last year's dance at the House of Blues also drew complaints – from students this time – about the venue's limited space and the conduct of event staff.

Going back to the drawing board, this year's campus entertainment staff - headed by Director Mike Zarrilli, A&S '12 – sought a more spacious and student-friendly venue. After months strategizing around the white boards of Maloney Hall's second floor, the group came up with a model that seemed to fit.

This year's organizing crew forwent mandatory busing to the event, allowing students to make it to the Sheraton on their own.

"The feedback we've gotten from students has largely been positive," said Zarrilli, adding that the UGBC has yet to solicit feedback from some underclassmen. "It was nice to let students get out and explore Boston. I think the event went very well."

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