In case you haven’t heard, this year’s Holiday Ball will be hosted on a private cruise ship in New York City. So many students jumped at the opportunity to register to attend the dance that, within 48 hours of its initial announcement via email and a post on Drew University’s Student Activities Instagram page, capacity for the ship was reached and a waitlist created. Despite the fanfare and excitement surrounding the event, hosting the dance on a cruise ship has some serious drawbacks which students should consider before dressing to the nines and heading to Holiday Ball.
The biggest factor to consider is the fact that even though the campus has done an effective job of quelling COVID cases on campus thus far, and dance attendance requires proof of vaccination, we are still in the midst of cold and flu season. That risk is also increased due to holiday travel, as many students have just returned to campus after spending Thanksgiving with friends and/or family. According to the CDC, over the past weeks, flu infections on college and university campuses have risen significantly. Holiday Ball this year forces students in attendance to interact and be in close contact with people outside of their normal circles for extended periods of time, increasing illness risk, even if not for COVID-19. In addition, Medical News Today states that current research indicates that viruses spread with greater efficiency in the cold. Students at Holiday Ball will be at risk as they spend hours outside on the cruise for the dance.
Another drawback to consider is the fact that students in attendance will not be able to come and go from the event as they please. It is a lose-lose situation for students who want to go to the dance on the ship but don’t feel like staying the whole time or being forced into transportation with the rest of the event goers. Even though Student Activities is offering an alternative to Holiday Ball on campus, it would hardly be a substitute for those who still want to go to a dance but don’t want to stay the whole time. It could cause those students to put themselves in a situation they are uncomfortable with to attend Holiday Ball. The on-campus event plays into more of that warm and cozy stay-in winter aesthetic with hot beverages, crafts and a holiday movie night, according to a post on the Drew Student Activities Instagram page.
Regardless of what they decide to do, students who plan to attend Holiday Ball should remember to look at the event with a critical eye before attending. While a fun opportunity to dress up and spend time with friends, the nature of the event is such that it could become a spreader for viral infections like colds and flus. It could also be an uncomfortable situation for many, since they will be unable to come and go as they please and may not be able to choose who they are transported with. Students who are concerned about either of these factors should strongly reconsider going to Holiday Ball before boarding the buses to New York City tonight.