What is the purpose of semester two, but for existential crises about your choice of degree, super stressful group assignments, a very late midsem break, and the cure for it all: university balls?
Ah yes, ball season—the real reason you came to university in the first place—is once again upon us.
This year, I thought I’d be more adventurous (and possibly more reckless with my credit card) and attend multiple USyd balls to complete the ultimate ball measuring contest.
First up, we have Engineering Ball, hosted by the Sydney Uni Engineering Undergraduates Association (SUEUA). With the theme as Vice & Virtue, it would would have been a cardinal sin not to attend.
Now, I’ve never been to an engineering event before, but after attending this shindig, I can attest that the Engo kids know how to throw a party.
I walked into the Sheraton on the Park lobby at around 7pm and took in the floor-to-ceiling columns and a sweeping staircase while I waited for a friend, who had been lucky enough to nab a ticket that morning. This was made extremely easy by SUEUA, who were on top of their game when it came to all things tickets and transfers (even with the threat of bots, or worse, law students).
The beauty of buying individual tickets was that you weren’t made to go through the headache of organising a table, which, for an ~honorary engineering student~ like myself, would have been near impossible. However, going in with the individual ticket system also meant it was like the cornucopia bloodbath in Hunger Games to nab a table with your friends.
Once everyone was seated, the speeches kicked off with SUEUA President, Dimitri Bantli noting the society’s various successes over the year. What followed was an award ceremony like no other, including an award for best dressed, three ten-second-countdown makeouts (an Engo tradition), and of course, a tribute to the one and only Jason Chan (#bringbackJasonChan). If nothing else, what I gathered from this was just how tight-knit the engineering students are with each other—something I’m sure many other faculties would envy.
Next came dinner, drinks (there was plenty to go around and plenty did), and photography—including a luxe white rose flower wall for photos and a digital photobooth. The latter was so popular, it took thirty minutes to get through the line, but it was well worth the wait; the pics actually made it to Facebook quickly and looked just as good as the professional shots.
Of course, it’s never a party without some good tunes, and SUEUA Ball delivered. Even after the dance floor had to be cleared to clean up a broken glass, the DJ knew the key to our hearts: ‘Mr. Brightside’. Within 10 seconds, the floor was full once again.
The fun didn’t even stop there. Come 10:30pm, my friend and I found ourselves walking with a massive group to Establishment for afters. A handful of guys led the group in a chorus of ‘Take Me Home, Country Roads’ while a girl was being pushed along on an office wheely chair from the venue still holding a glass of champagne. I’m still yet to find out how exactly they got the chair and the glass outside the hotel, but these are engineering students—they work in mysterious ways.
Date: September 21 2018
Theme: Vice & Virtue
Ticket prices: Access + Member $105, Access + Non-member $110, Non-Access $120
Entertainment: DJ, jazz band, award ceremony, flower wall, digital photo booth
After Party: The Establishment
- 1x Lonely office chair probably still floating around the CBD
- 3x Ten-second-countdown makeouts
- 5x Engo boys to be the next country music breakout band
Next to Law Revue, Law Ball is one of the most anticipated events of the year among students in the law faculty. It’s as much an excuse to get glammed up as it is to forget your upcoming Contracts midsem exam which you weren’t really studying for anyway.
I have attended Law Ball the past two years, so it was safe to say expectations were high. But Law Ball 2018 didn’t just meet my expectations—it absolutely smashed them.
The SULS committee brought both the whimsical and fantastic to this year’s event with their ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ theme. The Grand Ballroom in the Westin Sydney was decked out in vine-covered centrepieces, a forest-like greenery wall and, like Engo, another white rose flower wall (Kim K and her extravagant wedding deserve full credit for setting the trend.)
Many who attended got into theme as well, interpreting it in their own way much like the celebs do at the Met Gala. There were flower crowns, tiaras, floral-printed ties, cape dresses, enough sequins to drown in and, surprisingly, a lot of the colour emerald, which I myself was guilty of wearing, thinking I could get away with a ‘unique’ colour. Sadly, there were no Puck or donkey costumes.
There were professional photographers snapping all night, sure to get everyone’s good sides with multiple shots and the rounds for photos of people at their tables as well.
SULS President, Ann Wen, opened the evening with her usual infectious charisma, and was followed by a jazz band playing mellow tunes from the stage as we ate.
The service was so seamless that dinner seemed to appear magically, and the unlimited drinks meant our glasses were constantly topped up (the champagne was particularly good).
Dinner was a filling three course meal: a deconstructed salad for entrée, the standard chicken, beef or vegetarian option for mains, and a lemon tart with meringue for dessert.
As the jazz died down and the DJs started up, the music was sadly lacking in volume which made it difficult to discern whether or not it was appropriate to hit the dance floor. This, we later found out, was because the volume was being controlled out back by the hotel. That said, the music did get louder, and the tunes better throughout the night.
We owe it to one brave soul in particular, who ventured up onto the stage with her friend, for widening the crammed dance floor. But once again, when failsafe party anthem, ‘Mr. Brightside’ was played, it transformed into a mosh pit. Undeterred by the repetitive hit, I ended up dancing so hard that one of my dress straps broke.
Thankfully, the chicken nuggets from George Street Maccas served as fuel for many to kick on to afters at Bungalow 8, with free entry included.
One of the best parts about going to your own faculty’s ball is knowing enough people and always having something to catch up on. People were flitting back and forth like fairies between tables and friendship groups throughout the night. While the event only ran from 6:30pm to 11:30pm, it felt like a long night compared to previous balls, which seemed to wrap up quite prematurely.
At Law Ball 2018, there was never a dull moment. It was quite literally a midsem night’s dream, and as I procrastinate from studying for my exams, I wish I was back there now.
Date: September 29 2018
Theme: A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Ticket prices: $120 access, $125 non-access
Entertainment: DJ, jazz band, flower wall, forest wall, digital photobooth
After Party: Bungalow 8
- 1x Broken dress strap
- 2x Flower/greenery walls
- 6x Chicken nuggets
- Infinite champagne