by Catherine Brewer ’20
If you have ever heard of “puttin’ on the ritz,” the Class of 2020 took it to the next level at this year’s Senior Ring Weekend (SRW), held November 8-10, 2019. Boasting a 1920s Great Gastby theme—complete with a “Prohibition Punch” sangria—and three days of events, the highly-anticipated celebration marked an important milestone in the Providence College tradition.
Attendees danced the nights away, and money flowed just as fast as the champagne: with a budget of roughly $120,000 and tickets at $75 each, SRW remains one of the most expensive events of the year—and it is almost entirely organized by students.
“My initial guess would be $600,” said Monet Eugene ’20 on how much she likely spent on SRW. In addition to purchasing new dresses and shoes for both nights, she indulged in a variety of beauty treatments: hair extensions, acrylic nails, eyelash extensions, and two trips to the MAC store to have her makeup done professionally.
On the weekend alone, the final bill was around $652, not counting the class ring that Eugene had purchased months earlier for $500.
When asked if she would spend the same amount knowing the end dollar amount, Eugene explained that she would, adding that it was “completely worth it.”
For his attire on Friday, Dakorite Ojuka ’20 picked up two new pieces: a blazer for $225 and shoes for $100. While he already owned a tuxedo, he purchased a second pair of new shoes for Saturday. Drinks before and at both events added on just over $50. Not including his ticket or $250 class ring, Ojuka guessed he had spent around $350. In reality, this number was closer to $410, and Ojuka spent around $736 on the occasion as a whole. “I spent way more than I thought,” he realized.
Others invested more money in the night of the event itself. While Jackson Piantedosi ’20 already had a suit to wear on Friday night and spent only $50 to rent a tuxedo for Saturday, he spent $80 on drinks alone for him and his date over the course of two nights. Piantedosi’s initial estimate of his spending was $125, but his end total was closer to $190. “I honestly would’ve gone up to $200…I had a good time,” he explained.
While the cost of the on-campus events is covered primarily by a $40,000 budget allocation from Student Congress, the remaining $80,000 owed to the off-campus venue was funded by the approximately 1,100 tickets sold, according to Ella Sheehan ’20, Co-Chair of Formal Night on the SRW Core. As in previous years, each ticket granted access to Friday’s Special Events Night in Peterson Recreation Center, Saturday’s Formal Night at Twin River Casino in Lincoln, RI, and Sunday’s Ring Ceremony, also held in Peterson.
Sheehan also explained that even though Twin River has been used for Formal Night in the past, it was chosen again due to the limited number of event spaces that could accommodate the size of the senior class. “I think it went more smoothly than last year,” she added. While attendees largely expressed higher expectations for the food, the kitchen at Twin River was also better suited to satisfy a wider range of dietary restrictions than other venues.
After making a low estimate of spending $200 on the weekend, Michelle Fredericks ’20 wished she had spent less when she realized that she dropped closer to $370. She was able to borrow a dress from her sister for one night, but ended up spending $130 on a formal dress as the weekend grew closer. Fredericks also spent $80 on shoes, to which she made the same point as Eugene: “I’ll definitely wear them again!”
Living off campus, getting to and from the event was an important factor for Fredericks and her friends. When temperatures reached a low of 28 degrees on Friday night, Fredericks decided to chip in $3 for an Uber ride home from Peterson. On Saturday night, she was able to take the shuttle to Eaton Street from Twin River, which began running at 9:30 p.m.
Reflecting on the weekend, many felt that what they spent was worth it, regardless of whether they expected their final price tag or not. “I tend to want to get new things for events,”
Explained Fredericks, “I thought that borrowing a dress would cut costs down. I really didn’t need to buy new shoes for both nights.”
Ojuka felt that the cost of SRW may differ depending on what attendees choose to wear, making it more or less price prohibitive. “I had a specific style that I was going for, so I ended up spending more than I had to,” he explained. “I think the price of the ticket is expensive though, considering the first night is in Peterson.”
Some attendees who live on lower Eaton Street rented a tent to celebrate and take photos in for the duration of the weekend, which tacked on an additional cost. For those that chose to gamble at Twin River, the stakes were high, and many walked away with losses.
When asked about the best part of her weekend, Eugene revealed that it was bonding with her friends. “It’s like, getting ready, things go wrong, and you figure it out with your friends. Appointments were missed, hair didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to, dresses came in late…but once someone has an idea and turns it around, it’s always a victory.”