OSU held its second Winter Formal with live music, food and a whole lot of fun


Cat Smith, OMN Illustrator

An illustration of students dancing at the Winter Formal event.

Hannah Lull, News Contributor

There was dancing. A DJ. A live jazz band. A photo booth. Activities. Food. Friends. A surprise in the middle of the event. Overall, a perfect night.

You had to be there. 

Oregon State University held its second Winter Formal dance on Friday, Feb. 17 in a decorated Memorial Union Ballroom and the Lounge, from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. OSU students bought their tickets for five dollars and guest tickets for non-OSU students for $15. 

The dance theme was “New York Fashion Week,” which served as a finale event following a week of themed activities hosted by the OSU Program Council. 

The dance theme was inspired by the real New York Fashion Week and OSU’s Fashion Week that happened concurrently with the well-known week that highlights upcoming collections from designers through presentations and runway shows. New York Fashion Week is a highly popular and attended event that occurs every two years. The week is a chance for designers and models to show off their unique styles. 

“Some people will definitely be coming just for the purpose of looking great, beautiful and (to) show off their amazing features,” said OSUPC Event Coordinator Paul Pangan, anticipating what the formal would be like. “People go to have fun, and depending on what they’re going for, you can go for something more comfortable and whatnot. I think we’re gonna see a variety of different outfits.” 

Turns out, people dressed in a variety of different styles like Pangan anticipated. In the middle of the event, there was a surprise catwalk for students to show off their New York Fashion Week outfits. 

“Everyone was so into it and eager to participate in it we literally couldn’t keep people from walking the runway”, Casad said. “Everyone’s outfits were on point and looked stunning, it was a great way for everyone there to see everyone’s outfits and show off if they wanted to!”

The Winter Formal last year was successful and all tickets were sold out. This year, they had 500 people attend, which was 200 more than the year before. Pangan explained that they initially created this event to give students a chance to experience a formal if they missed their high school prom and homecoming due to COVID-19. 

Since then, the OSUPC realized this event is also just a fun way for students to take a break from midterms and relax during winter term. 

“I went last year and it was like the prom I never had,” said Annie Potter, a second-year anthropology student. 

“It’s like an upscale version of a prom like when you think of a country club, like it’s the parties that your parents would go to,” said OSU Event Production Assistant Cameron Casad. “Instead of just going into your cafeteria and dancing around in your high school.” 

Lia Larson, an architectural engineering major and third-year student also attended last year’s Winter Formal. She went this year and wore a white and gold sparkly dress to match the theme. 

She said she had an enjoyable time both this year and last year. 

“[Last year] I went with a few friends and we spent some time taking pictures in the main room upstairs and snacked on Crumbl Cookies and all the other yummy foods they had,” Larson said. “In the ballroom, we walked into a super cute photo booth and took more pictures, then went onto the dance floor and had the best time! They played a ton of fun songs and we were just laughing and having a good night.” 

There was dancing in the MU Ballroom with a DJ supplying upbeat songs and upstairs, in the MU Lounge a live jazz band perfomed. A photo booth was also available for people to take pictures to document the night’s memories. The formal catered pastries, cookies and other finger foods. 

“(There was also) a signature mocktail, pureed specifically for this event,” Casad said. “You’ll never see it again.” 

Whatever your style of music may be, whether it’s upbeat dancing on the dance floor or a relaxing time upstairs listening to jazz and snacking, the formal may be a great place for students to take a break from midterms and relieve some stress. The OSUPC plans on holding another formal next year. 

“There’s no harm in attending (a future winter formal),” Casad said. “It’ll be a fun event and it’s just a good way to go out, meet people and have fun. If you’re not a student who’s in sorority/fraternity life, you don’t really have the opportunity to go to formals that often, and if you missed out in high school, or if you’re just looking to have a good time, it’s worth it.” 

OSUPC promises that the next winter formal in 2024 will be “bigger and better than ever”. They say that with this year being their second winter formal event, there’s still much to improve on. 

“It will just keep growing and getting better in the upcoming years,” Casad confirmed.

Was this article helpful?