Fairmount Formal sweeps students and faculty of their feet for night of glamor and dancing


Khánh Nguyễn/ The Sunflower

The Student Activities Council hosted its first Fairmount Formal on Feb 19 in RSC Beggs Ballroom.

Wichita State students, faculty and guests were treated to a night of dancing, hors-d’oeuvres and fun, last Saturday evening at the first SAC Fairmount Formal. The event, which entertained more than 350 individuals, was hosted in the Beggs Ballroom located on the third floor of the Rhatigan Student Center.

The dance was complete with a D.J, photobooth and festive black and yellow macaroons. This was the first major event coordinated by new SAC president, Mo Wetta and the first “Fairmount Formal.” Wetta aimed to not only host a dance for students who missed prom due to COVID-19, but for students and faculty of all ages to enjoy annually.

“We kind of wanted to have it similar to prom but also make it so that students feel like they’re in college, so it’s a little more formal,” Wetta said. “I’m really happy that students, like freshmen and sophomores, can get the (prom) experience tonight.”

From custom balloon garlands to rows of fondue fountains, hosting the formal successfully was no small feat, as it took nearly three months of planning. Students could be seen dancing, socializing and partying for the entire three hour length of the event. Free beverages, catered goods and photobooth sessions saw massive lines as students enjoyed all that SAC had to offer.

Students weren’t the only ones to benefit from the formal. Several of the university’s more notable members were spotted in attendance as well, such as John Lee, the director of campus recreation, and Aaron Austin, the dean of students. These well known campus individuals were included on a “VIP” list for WSU faculty and staff and were each accompanied by their young daughters.

“We decided to make [the formal] a daddy-daughter date. We went to dinner together and then came here to dance,” Austin said with his daughter Vivian standing by his side. “But the emphasis of this event was because so many students missed prom due to COVID-19, so this is a great time to make it up.”

When schools were closed across Kansas in the spring of 2020, many students lost the opportunity to attend school dances. For several students, the Fairmount Formal was the first dance since high school that they had the opportunity to attend. For others, such as Baker graduate student Raymond Tollison, the formal was the perfect opportunity to socialize, have fun and of course, dance.

“I’ve been dancing for years,” Tollison said. “I try to go dancing at XY Bar every weekend. I also have a lot of pent-up energy. I work from home often so the cabin fever brought me out tonight.”

But for most, the dance served as the perfect form of closure for prom memories and opportunities lost to COVID-19. 

“I only got half of a high school prom,” Nalah Stokes said. “So when I heard about the dance I was like “Oh my gosh I can actually have that last senior experience of “You’ve grown up and you’ve done it.”