The third annual Fall Gala, held in Gantcher Center last Friday, sold out tickets but also saw an increase in students who had to be evaluated by Tufts Emergency Medical Services (TEMS).
Due to a forecast of rain, the event had been moved from the Academic Quad to Gantcher Center. According to Assistant Director for Campus Life and Programming Ashley Tello, the event, which ran from 6:30 p.m. to 11 p.m., was attended by approximately 2,250 students.
In addition to the venue switch, Tello explained, the Junior Class Council, Office of Campus Life and Tufts University Police Department (TUPD) changed this year’s event to help address issues from last year, which included concerns about the entrance, access to the bathrooms and the heat in the main room.
Rather than collect tickets inside the building as they did last year, event staff processed attendees outside, which increased efficiency, according to Tello. Event staff also added portable bathrooms outside the venue, as well as more ventilation to keep the temperature down.
“One of the concerns [was] how hot Gantcher [was] going to be,” Tello said. “We made sure to run the ventilation fans all day [on Thursday], and open the doors and get fans in Gantcher all day. And it’s not that hot inside, so it seems to be working.”
On the other hand, TEMS evaluated more than twice as many students as the year before, according to a TUPD representative. Two students were transported to the hospital and three refused treatment.
This increase occurred despite efforts by the Office of Campus Life, which met with over half a dozen campus offices about planning and preparation for Gala safety, Tello said.
This year, Tello said, her office had also reached out to pre-orientation leaders to make sure their first-years had a clear idea of what to expect.
“We want to make sure that [those leaders are] talking to their students who they’ve led to say, ‘Hey, you can come. It is a sober event,’” Tello said. “We want to make sure people are being safe.”
Many of the students who attended had positive things to say about the event.
Jaya Khetarpal, a first-year, loved the food and the live band.
“I like how [Good Will and Them Apples] kind of twist modern songs and make it into their own,” she said.
Tucker Sjoblad, a junior, said he did not mind the heat inside Gantcher and enjoyed the photo booth, but was less impressed with the band.
“The live band was trying to play the songs that people dance to, which may be better suited to a DJ,” he said. “If you have an electronic set and try and transpose that to a five piece band, I don’t think that’s accessible to people who are just trying to hear those songs in their natural state.”
Many changes have been made to Fall Gala since it replaced its predecessor, Fall Ball, in 2013. Event coordinators chose to restructure the event after students and organizers became concerned about the nature of Fall Ball.
“I think the event has evolved since it started three years ago,” Tello said. “People know it’s going to be elegant and classy, with nice furniture and good food.”
According to Mark Keith, deputy chief of TUPD, one of the big differences since the event became Fall Gala is the change in the event’s time.
“It used to be from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. and now it’s over at 11 p.m.,” Keith said. “I think neighbors are a lot more tolerant [of that], because in the past it would be just about midnight when we’d start getting calls.”
Tello added that it’s important that students understand the effort the Junior Class Council, who worked on Fall Gala over the summer, put into the event.
As for next year, Tello hopes to see Fall Gala return to the lawn.
“I think [the gym] takes away from the ambiance of the event,” she said. “When you see it on the quad, it’s beautiful. It looks great.”
Sara Kalra, a first-year, agreed, saying that she wished the event had been held outdoors.
“I feel like if it was out in the open it would have been more enjoyable because there would have been more fresh air,” she said.
Overall, Tello said that the event has seen positive changes since its inception.