This year’s Masquerade Ball brought “the largest attendance for [an] HESA event ever!” to the March 4 event, Ian Jackson, the coordinator of student affairs at the Division of Continuing Education, told the Harvard Extension Student Association (HESA) Board.
The seventh annual ball was held at the Sheraton Boston Hotel. Co-sponsored by the Harvard Graduate Council, it included special guests such as Grammy-nominated R&B singer Karina Pasian and Miss Boston 2017, Gabriela Taveras, as the mistress of ceremonies.
With an estimated 900 in attendance, the ball reinforced the Graduate Council’s mission of One Harvard, bringing together students from the 12 graduate and professional Schools. This year, ball organizers expanded to include undergraduates from Harvard College, further fostering the One Harvard mission.
Spearheaded by the HESA, with the support of the Graduate Council, the Harvard Masquerade Ball website stated: “Our goal is twofold: We hope to not only produce a memorable event experience, but also provide an environment conducive for cross-school dialogue — increased collaboration and idea exchange will only benefit our already amazing Harvard community.”
Masked guests arrived at the hotel in masks, with some playing on the decadence of disguise, choosing not to reveal their faces until the night’s end. The New York Jet Club donated a lavish prize of a private flight between New York and Los Angeles for two lucky attendees. World Artists United provided live performances, aerialists, and contortionists against the backdrop of stunning decorations. SYB Event Planning Services set the ambiance for the truly magical, enchanting, and elegant evening.
The committee launched a social media campaign and created the #WeAre1H hashtag to promote the ball within the Harvard community, with a custom logo that was added to profile pictures on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The #WeAre1H campaign highlighted the value of diversity, inclusivity, and solidarity on campus.
“The masquerade ball brought the Harvard Graduate Council’s mission to life by uniting the student body inside of a world-class atmosphere. Whether we are advocating for students’ rights, keeping the student population well-informed, or celebrating at an event like the masquerade ball, we become successful as we become more united,” said Aaron Roe, vice chair of social engagement for the Harvard Graduate Council.
Cheniece Kelleher, director of communications for HESA, said, “The most rewarding aspect of this event is that it brings together students across all Schools in the spirit of President Drew Faust’s One Harvard.”
“This night was One Harvard, the mission of the Harvard Graduate Council, at its best! We need opportunities like this to remind us we are much stronger together than when we try to go it alone,” said Peter Dyrud, president of the Harvard Graduate Council.
“Being a part of the masquerade ball committee was a challenging but rewarding experience,” said human resources co-chair and HESA chief of staff Colin Rudd. “Although we faced many obstacles, through teamwork and dedication we were able to host an amazing event with over 900 attendees.”