Even before the class of 2011 leadership committee issued an apology to juniors unable to attend the March 27 Ring Dance, class of 2012 representatives began planning next year’s dance to avoid the snafu described by many attendees.
More than half of attendees to this year’s Ring Dance were not able to enter the Commonwealth Ballroom in Squires Student Center, which has a fire code capacity of 1,100. Nathan Lavinka, class of 2011 president, estimated about 2,500 students attempted to go to the dance.
Lavinka issued a statement of apology to the class of 2011 via e-mail Tuesday night explaining the fire and safety code challenges the planning committee faced.
“Unfortunately, even if all 1,100 guests were in the Class of 2011, that means that only 20 percent of our class would be able to attend,” Lavinka wrote in the e-mail. “There is no indoor location at Virginia Tech or within Blacksburg to house to entire junior class.”
Sandy Bass, class of 2012 president, said it was unfortunate that many juniors were prevented from participating, especially students who paid for their class rings.
“It was a huge bummer for us working the event to see people dressed up and not able to attend,” Bass said.
Bass, who staffed the 2011 Ring Dance along with other members of the 2012 leadership team, was responsible for administrative tasks such as the coat check and administering wristbands.
“The bracelet idea was hectic,” Bass said.
Wristbands were given out in an attempt to control the set capacity. The Old Dominion Ballroom was also used for some overflow, but the line for entrance to the Ring Dance wrapped around virtually the entire second floor of Squires.
Attendees were not informed of the capacity of the Commonwealth Ballroom until they were standing in line. Some were turned away at the door.
“Looking back, my Leadership Team and I should have alerted you all about the maximum amount of guests, but we did not want to deter any of you from the possibility of enjoying your Ring Dance,” Lavinka wrote in the e-mail.
Bass said wristbands are an element that may be used next year, and that he would like to create some kind of priority entrance system for juniors, perhaps by doing a “pre-sale” of free tickets, or by conducting a survey to see who will plan to attend.
“We need to make people aware they can’t all come,” he said, noting that the Ring Dance should not be limited exclusively to the junior class.
“We don’t want to close it to other class members. We just want to make sure that the class of 2012 gets priority,” he said.
Although Bass and the ring committee are “just brainstorming right now,” he said he is “excited to start planning.” The committee had its first meeting last night.
More changes that could be implemented include increasing the space of the Ring Dance to allow more people to participate. Although the Commonwealth Ballroom is likely to remain the main area of focus, the planning committee is considering putting the Old Dominion Ballroom and perhaps the Squires lobby to use as well.
Bass was quick to point out that he felt Lavinka and the class of 2011 put their best effort into this year’s Ring Dance, despite the admittance issues.
“We as the class of 2012 support the class of 2011 and we think they did a great job,” he said.
Although the schedule for next year is not yet certain, Bass expects that the ring premiere will take place during the first week of October, and the Ring Dance will happen sometime in March.