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Millennium Ball Celebrates MIT’s Vibrant History in Style

By Katharyn Jeffreys

Features Editor

On January 29 three floors of the Stratton Student Center will be transformed to host the Millenium Ball. Entertainment, theatrical sets, and a wise assortment of desserts representing the decades since MIT’s founding will contribute to the festive atmosphere.

After presenting the idea to Vice President Kathryn Willmore, student leaders worked with the Campus Activity Complex to develop the event. Van Chu ’99, former ASA President, explained that “there is a lot of energy at MIT right now because there is a lot of change going on. So it is good to use this for community building so that we can get out of this chaos” The ball was scheduled for January because the IAP Policy Committee, led by Prof. David Mindell, wanted to hold a major event to commemorate the year 2000.

Three floors of fun and food

In the lobby, MIT Alumnus Justin Klosik '97 will be playing a baby grand piano. Klosik, who plays regularly at Jake Ivory’s on Landsdowne Street in Boston, will solicit requests from any decade.

Upstairs, Lobdell will be used to showcase rock music from the 50s, 60s and 70s, played by a live band, Soul City. Swing, Reggae, Latin and Hip-Hop music from the 40s, 80s and 90s will be played in La Sala de Puerto Rico by Joe Agovino, a DJ from New York City. This allows for students to enjoy what coordinator Ted Johnson, of the CAC, describes as “entertainment from across the centuries.”

Also on the second floor will be a traditional 1950s malt shop offering root beer floats and ice cream sodas. The Wiesner Gallery will be the home of an interactive art exhibit, presented by the Student Art Association, based on the NYC A-Train.

History and future of MIT displayed

On the third floor, MIT history will be presented through videos assembled by the MIT Museum. Events such as Winston Churchill’s visit to campus and early graduations will show the Institute’s past, while the future will be shown with models of planned buildings and other innovations. Astrologers and Tarot Card readers will also be on hand, in the Coffeehouse, to help predict students’ futures.

The rooms will be joined by a timeline of MIT history which will feature events from campus and across the globe since 1861. Chu points to this history lesson as one of the surprising attractions of the ball. “The ball is not about the dressing up or the free food, its about the history.” She points to the Walker Community Balls which were held early in the century as her own personal inspiration for creating this event.

Johnson promises other surprises as well, which have not been advertised. The event calls for “Black Tie and Festive Attire” which means that a tuxedo or ball gown is not required, but would be appropriate. Johnson emphasizes that it is “not just a stuffy ball,” so that any semi-formal attire would be welcome.

The ball, which is from 8 p.m. to midnight, costs $5 for students, $10 for Faculty, Staff, and MIT Community. Tickets may be purchased at The Source (in W20), MITAC (in the basement of building 50), Lincoln Lab MITAC office, and starting on January 19, in Lobby 10.

Wendy Gu contributed to the reporting of this article.