On-Campus formal raises controversy

November 26, 2018 — by Megan Chen

To the disappointment of many students, Winter Formal will be held on campus in the gym on Dec. 1. For many, the prospect of an off-campus venue combined with the formal dress code is the main motivation for students to attend, especially underclassmen, for whom is this the only formally dressed dance.

Students have complained that the school can afford expensive events such as Breaking Down the Walls, which cost $40,000, but seemingly can’t pay for another off-campus formal.

However, despite the drastic changes to Winter Formal this year and subsequent student backlash surrounding it, the new venue on campus isn’t as bad as some students might make it seem.

 

Although it is disappointing for students who are used to having formals off campus, most fail to recognize that the school began having off-campus formals only three years ago, so we’re simply returning to how things were in the past. For most other schools in the area, including private schools, formals are held on campus, and some schools even have prom on campus.

Many have also complained about the high prices of the dance compared to other off-campus dances. Winter Formal three years ago at the Discovery Museum started at $30, the dance two years ago at the San Jose Country Club started at $40 and last year tickets started at $50 for Hyatt Santa Clara. This year’s tickets start at $40, as opposed to $20 for Homecoming.

Although $40 seems expensive for a dance, students should understand that the budget for Winter Formal has been gradually decreasing over the past few years. Because the budget for formal is separate from all other school events, including other dances, prices need to be high in order to raise enough money to hold off-campus formals in the future.

Complaints about the prices are also based on the misconception that all school activities come from the same budget. However, Breaking Down the Wall’s large budget came from the administration, while the dance commission has a separate, limited budget for formal.  

Because of formal’s more limited budget, students will be the ones who are at-large supporting the event with ticket purchases.

The prices also reflect the extra elements of formal that other on-campus dances don’t have. Since the school no longer needs to pay for buses, the money will also go to additional features that haven’t been added to the dance in previous years. These changes include arcade games, professional decorations, taco and ice cream catering and even an Arabian themed lounge, which makes $40 sound like a more pretty reasonable price. If anything, students should be glad that they can still attend a dance with so many features despite the shrinking budget.

Students should change their mindsets about an on-campus formal; the venue is a key aspect, but far from the most important part of the dance. Instead, students should look forward to the memories and experiences they will get from this year’s Winter Formal.