by Sarah Gianni ’18
How do you measure a century? How do you celebrate 100 years of achievements and hardships, growth, and learning? To put it simply: you tell a story no one will forget.
Providence College has been telling its story since 1917 and, by this point, it may as well call itself a best-selling author.
The College shared and celebrated this story with the PC community on Friday, February 17, with the campus’ largest centennial event yet: the Black and White Ball.
The Ball took place in the refashioned Peterson Center, complete with floor to ceiling chandeliers, assorted sofas and chairs, and the glow of multicolored lights. Students entered into the venue through a tunnel lined with a red carpet leading to the main dance floor.
Historical facts and photos of PC from the last 100 years lined the walls of the tunnel, creating a timeline-esque feel as guests were able to stop and absorb these mementos. “From the beginning we knew we wanted to make this event beautiful and, with help, Peterson was completely transformed,” said Board of Programmers (BOP) member Jamie Fugere ’18.
A rotating live band and DJ kept the crowd energized with a variety of music selections, as students intermittently snacked on food selections ranging from cupcakes to mini quesadillas to mac and cheese. Two beer gardens were stationed on either side of Peterson, stocked with the signature “centennial cocktail.” The celebratory drink consisted of Prosecco with fresh blackberries.
In addition to dancing, guests could also snap lasting memories in the photo booth, or enjoy a live streaming of the PC vs. Notre Dame hockey game. All four grades were invited to attend the ball, with most students wearing semi-formal black and white attire.
The Black and White Ball was a group effort by BOP, Student Congress, Friars Club, Board of Multicultural Student Affairs (BMSA), and Campus Ministry. Vice President of BOP Daniel Pupke ’17 said that BOP leadership began meeting with the Dean of Student’s Office and Centennial Committee in September to make this vision a reality.
“Beginning in October we solicited bids from several different event decor designers, entertainers, and caterers,” said Pupke. “This process included meeting with all of them, touring the Peterson Center, and gathering feedback from those who met with each party.”
Event planning was broken up into four sub-committees, mixing members from all different campus organizations. President of BOP Taralynn Vecchio ’17 and President of BMSA Pedro Aleman ’17 headed the committee on the entrance walkway, program, and centennial and historical elements. Pupke and President of Campus Ministry Claire Kleinschmidt ’17 were heads of design and décor.
Secretary of BOP Monica Houghton ’17 and Vice President of Friars Club Lauren Bedard ’17 were in charge of catering, and Executive Treasurer of BOP Michael Gilmor ’17 and Executive Treasurer of Student Congress Sean Lawler ’17 led entertainment and finance.
“The decision to split into sub-committees ensured that while BOP took a leading role in the planning, several other large clubs were represented,” said Pupke. “It was important that this entire process was a collaboration while remaining focused.”
Over 2,600 tickets were sold for the Ball, as students dined and danced into the night. “The best part about planning the Black and White Ball was seeing the student reactions,” said Fugere. “When everyone walked into the Ball and saw Peterson for the first time, you could see the awe on their faces and it was truly unforgettable.”
The Black and White Ball served as a way for community members to come together to celebrate a historic 100 years.