SAAC hosts first winter formal
Jaylen Carr – Sports Editor
Destene Savariau – News Writer
Inside the doors of James Moore Field House, you hear the sounds of 2010s pop music by DJ Handles, the smell of pepperoni pizza, and spot the Owl’s decorated photo booth.
The Athletics Department and Southern Recreation and Fitness, Recfit held a winter formal dubbed “The Snowball” on Jan. 28 for not only student-athletes but all students in hopes of helping student-athletes build friendships outside of the respective team.
Festivities also included a Hollywood-like red carpet entrance to help set the formal theme and raffles with prizes like sweatshirts and gift cards.
This event also allowed students to attend a prom-like event because some proms were canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic or some schools not having a prom.
“My school never had a prom, so I came out because I thought tonight would be like a fun makeup of that,” said Political Science major Sam Mann, a senior.
Data science major Kylie Higginbottom, a sophomore, voiced a similar opinion about the event.
“I only went to one prom in high school, and my sister was actually preparing for hers yesterday. So, I figured, why not go?” said Higginthbottom.
Co-president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, SAAC, Faith Littleton, said, “so we wanted to do a formal just for athletes originally, and then the athletic department partnered with Recfit, and so we wanted to get the whole campus involved.”
Owls’ soccer player Greta Brunello, a graduate student, said she attended the event because she wanted to make new friends outside of her sport.
“I would like to have friends,” Brunello said. “I would like to have fun with my friends.”
Fellow soccer teammate Britt Verstegen said going to this type of event was different and “wanted to see what this event was about.”
Littleton said having this social event can help bring students and student-athletes together because sometimes some students do not attend games, which can be a way to see another side of the campus.
“There is a lot of athletes that don’t branch out from their teams. They find friends on their teams right away,” said Littleton. “I think it is really important that student-athletes engage with the whole student body.”
Owls Tight end and Co-president of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, SAAC, Tim O’Shea, said that when he and Littleton took the position of SAAC president, they wanted to introduce new events and ideas to the committee.
O’Shea said: “We were in school during COVID, and that sucked. Nothing was going on campus. So, we really wanted to try to help those people catch up on those years that they missed.”
Watching a TikTok from Rutgers University, where they also held a formal event for their student-athletes, helped inspire this winter formal idea here on campus, O’Shea said. During a SAAC event last year called ‘The Owls Awards, O’Shea said people enjoyed getting dressed up and thought doing another formal event would be perfect for those who enjoy wearing formal attire.
O’Shea said, “This was an event we wanted to gather the entire community at Southern.”
Littleton said that even though this is not an annual event, it has the potential to be one. Littleton further noted that she is in her last year at the university, so it depends on who is in charge next year of SAAC if they want to keep this formal as an annual event.
“When the season comes around, come to our games, and hopefully, we can build relationships with people that aren’t on sports teams,” O’Shea said. “I think just having events like this for the Southern community is a great step for everyone.”