Prom on campus isn’t the apocalypse

October 28, 2019 — by Kevin Sze

Last year, I groaned when I heard that winter formal was going to be held on campus for financial reasons. In addition, it would cost the same price as previous formals that were held off campus. To me, having formal on campus made the school seem cheap, and I thought it’d detract from my experience. 

I couldn’t have been more wrong. 

The food tasted better, the Leadership class had more freedom with the decorations and it was a lot more convenient than the confusing frenzy of 500 students trying to figure out what bus they’re supposed to be on. 

Formal and prom are pretty similar events. The only differences I see are the time of the year and the length of the dress the girl wears. 

So, here’s me explaining why prom on campus is actually better than having prom off campus. (Starting in 2022, proms are slated to become on-campus events.)

One reason this is good is price. Let’s face it: Prom is really expensive. Tickets are usually around $175. Now add on the price of renting or buying a tuxedo or a dress, and the price of a boutonniere (whatever those are good for), and you have got yourself a wallet-killing, savings-sapping night. 

The guys have it the worst because we’re usually expected to buy our date’s ticket or else we’ll get judged by our date’s friends, and nobody wants that problem. 

Last year’s winter formal on campus was $10 cheaper on campus than off campus, so you can expect at least a $10 decrease in prices for prom tickets — and maybe more without the expense or renting a venue or buses. 

Another reason is convenience. For the two off-campus formals and one prom that I attended, some guy always gets on the wrong bus when we’re trying to leave for the venue. Then, the buses have to wait so staff can figure out where that person is, and we all lose time to party. It’s so much easier to have people show up at school and go straight to moshing.

You also don’t lose any of the great prom experiences. You still get to take your basic photos at Communications Hill or Montalvo. You still get to mosh. You still get to slow dance with your crush, if you’re lucky. You still get to eat In-N-Out after the dance. Practically the only difference is the floor you’re moshing on, which isn’t a big deal unless you fall. Don’t worry, moshing is against school rules now, so all you people under five feet won’t catch one of my elbows and get knocked out at the next dance. 

It’s also easier for the members of the dance commission. They can get more thought-out decorations and better tasting food. They don’t have to scavenge for a venue that fits hundreds of people because we have one sitting right on school property. 

Sure, you don’t get to go to iconic venues in San Francisco with extraordinary scenery. But let’s be honest, most of the night you spend dancing your heart out with your friends and trying to find your date when a slow song comes on. Maybe you don’t get the photos you hoped for, but you can still populate your Instagram feed with basic photos from Communications Hill or Montalvo. Or maybe just don’t post at all. No offense, but the prom spam can get a little excessive. 

It’s easy to look at prom on campus and complain how dance commission or school officials aren’t doing a good job because they can’t afford or find a nice venue. But let’s be honest, having dances on campus is simply easier and less stressful for everyone.


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At UC Berkeley, PhD student Abrar Abidi and research assistant Yvonne Hao have embarked on a goal of creating hand sanitizer for the Bay Area's most vulnerable populations, including the homeless and the incarcerated. Their hand sanitizer includes glycerol mixed with other products, in accordance with a formula from the World Health Organization. So far, they are producing 120 hundreds of gallons of sanitizer each week. Photo courtesy of Roxanne Makasdjian with UC Berkeley.


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