Students, faculty and alumni enjoy the performances from the Stony Brook Dance Team, De Taali, SB Live and PUSO at the USG Gala. Mike Pedersen / The Statesman
Students, faculty and alumni enjoy the performances from the Stony Brook Dance Team, De Taali, SB Live and PUSO at the USG Gala. Mike Pedersen / The Statesman

Students, faculty and alumni dressed in evening wear lined up outside Ballroom A of the Student Activities Center. They were waiting for the first Undergraduate Student Government Gala, which took place on Saturday, Feb. 23.

The Gala began at 7:00 p.m. Upon entering, students were given a raffle ticket, a nametag, and a purple wristband to allow them to enter and leave the ballroom as they pleased after their tickets were checked. Markers were available so students, faculty and alumni could write their names on name tags. USG President Anna Lubitz was at the door to greet all that arrived.

The tables were covered in black and red tablecloths, had silver sparkles on them and small bowls with water and floating candles.

There was also a red carpet at the entrance as well as before the food line with a Stony Brook University backdrop to take pictures and interviews in front of.

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Approximately half an hour into the evening, Lubitz made a speech about  how the Gala was a fundraising and networking event as well as the role of USG in student life.

“We’re students working for students,” Lubitz said.

She then presented a video about USG and some of the events that had been held in the past few years. The video highlighted events such as last year’s Wiz Khalifa concert,  2011’s Bruno Mars concert and the Roth Regatta.

Lubitz also said there would be performances later in the evening by campus groups such as PUSO and the Stony Brook Dance Team.

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PUSO Modern, a hip-hop dance troupe, performs. Mike Pedersen / The Statesman
PUSO Modern, a hip-hop dance troupe, performs. Mike Pedersen / The Statesman

The Gala was primarily designed as a networking and fundraising event.

“Basically, I like to see students and faculty intermingling. It’s a great opportunity to meet and interchange information,” Lubitz said.

While the event was free for students, faculty had to pay $10 admission and alumni had to pay $20 admission. This was a part of the fundraising aspect of the Gala. Students could also purchase additional raffle tickets.

The money, which was intended to help enhance Student Life activities, was entered into a foundation account created by Lubitz for the Student Activities Board.

Lubitz came up with the idea in the middle of last semester and began planning it over winter break. She then sent emails to the campus groups and faculty notifying them of the event.

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Several performing groups responded to her about performing at the Gala. The groups that ended up performing included the Stony Brook Dance Team, De Taali, SB Live and PUSO. Wolfie, who was wearing a red sequined bowtie, a white button-down shirt and a black blazer, also made a guest appearance.

Student accappella group De Taali sings while dinner was served to USG Gala. Mike Pedersen / The Statesman
Student accappella group De Taali sings while dinner was served to USG Gala. Mike Pedersen / The Statesman

De Taali President Medha Tarigoppula, a sophomore, said, “We like performing on campus and we thought it would be a good idea. USG is such a big part of campus—we wanted to get involved.”

Provost Dennis N. Assanis was also in attendance. “It’s the first one we’ve had and we hope to have many more. It shows that the talents of students have gone beyond academics and athletics,” he said.

During the performances, dinner was served. Guests had a choice of two different types of pasta, two different types of chicken dishes, eggplant parmigiana, meatballs, salad and bread. For dessert, cake, brownies and assorted cookies were served.

Later in the evening, the lights were dimmed and music was played on a Pandora account.

Those in the audience got to enjoy more impromptu performances by the PUSO dance crew. Students also jumped up to dance when “Danza Kuduro” by Don Omar was played.

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Following that, the raffle drawing took place. Baskets had been donated by on-campus organizations such as FSA and the Athletics department.

Outside of the SAC Box Office, there was a sign posted that read, “The USG Gala is sold out. Guest Tickets are available at the door.” President Lubitz said “We have a max capacity of 200—there’s maybe only one or two tickets left.”

One student who asked to remain anonymous said, “[I came because] I performed. The event is pretty energetic.”

Some students, though, felt the event could have been more. “We were disappointed because there were no opportunities to talk to the clubs and get to know USG, but it was a fun event,” Dana Angelo, a junior and member of Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, said.

“It’s really wonderful [event] and truly exemplifies Stony Brook and student life. It’s awesome,” Assanis said.

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