Whoever said scientists weren’t social has clearly never met our undergraduates. Since 2014, the Chemistry Department has hosted an annual spring formal where chemistry majors of all years don their dancing shoes and let loose.
It started with numbers around the low 30’s and 40’s, but the older it gets, the bigger it gets. In its 6th year in Spring 2019, the formal had around 80 participants, roughly 67% of the current majors. It’s affectionately known as the Chemiformal, and it’s a cornerstone of the department.
“Chemiformal is really one of the main events that helps to build the community within the chemistry department,” said Celine Mileham, a senior chemistry and secondary education dual major. Mileham is one of the student liaisons for the Student Chemists’ Association, which puts together the event.
The theme was a collaborative effort, with brainstorming sessions followed by a survey. With an ever-changing body of government, the theme and specifics of the event vary every year – allowing people to look forward to something different.
The Chemiformal’s success inspired students in the Mathematics & Statistics Department and Physics Department to band together and create the first ever Math-querade Ball. It’s the first formal held for both departments, and it was a quantifiable success!
With 115 people in attendance, the joined departments danced under the light from a Kaleidoscope backdrop while their suggested songs pulsed through the room.
“I came because it was the first math formal and I was really excited,” said Annie Menninger, a junior mathematics and secondary education dual major. “It’s proven to be something to be continued through the years.”
The event was suggested by Danielle Demateis, a senior statistics major, who is the president of Pi Mu Epsilon- the mathematics honors society. It was then organized by her and junior mathematics major Michael Bostedo, who is president of the math club.
“This year being our first year we were unsure of how the logistics of the event and general interest were going to pan out.” said Bostedo, “It turned out to be a success with many people loving the photo booth, food, and music choices.”
The fun was highlighted with the 19 superlatives awarded on paper plates to students of both departments. Ranging from the common: most likely to succeed, most likely to be late for class, and class clown – to the not so common. After all, not every school could award a “most likely to lift more than Dr. Battista” paper plate.
It’s not just the formals that are thriving – the math club started the year with two people on the E-board and they’re ending the year with every position filled. Russell Johnson, a first-year mathematics major and the current treasurer of the math club, attended the formal and looked over the playlist.
“We’re going to try to make this bigger and better next year since we filled it pretty quick,” said Johnson, “We want as many people as we can to have a good time.”
Some showed up dressed to the theme of the dance, matching the handmade decorations, while others simply came out to unwind. “The dance is a good time,” said Ariel Steinsaltz a sophomore applied mathematics major, “The production team…did a good job.”
If you’re interested in biology and feel a touch left out, have no fear – their 2nd annual formal had glowing reviews. Hosted by Tri-Beta, the national biology honors society, students attended the dance that lit up the night.
With the dance becoming one of the biggest social events of the Biology Department, it’s a good way for people to relax and take a moment from their busy schedules. And since last year’s dance didn’t have a theme, the students decided that this year’s dance had to have one. So, the Tri-Beta E-board and the Bio Formal Committee put their heads together, voted, and emerged with Bioluminescence: Light Up the Night.
“I am glad last year’s E-board took the initiative to start such a tradition…” said Emmalee Kugler, the soon-to-be president of Tri-Beta. “It was amazing to see Bio majors
have a night to dress up, have fun, and get some cute pics!” Kugler is a junior biology major who has attended both biology dances and saw how they changed.
There were no paper plate superlatives handed out to the biology majors, but that doesn’t mean they don’t know how to have fun. Swapping superlatives for a biology trivia Kahoot! and a Buzzfeed “What Percent Biologist Are You?” quiz, the night was perfect for some spring-time relaxation.
“I am really grateful we had such an amazing team of hardworking people,” said Kugler, “Because we couldn’t have done it without each and every member…”
As each department dance grows in attendance, there might one day be a science-wide dance where it can be decided which majors are the best dancers. Until then, Math-querades, Chemiformals, and Bioluminescent dances will remain the favorite events of the departments and be looked forward to each year.
– Kerry Hennessy ‘21
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