Dip Ball Tickets Sell Out in Two Hours

By Tracy Zupancis Hoya Staff Writer

At 7:30 p.m. on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17, the first group of friends arrived equipped to spend the night in the Leavey Center waiting for tickets to the annual Diplomatic Ball, to be held at the Corcoran Museum of Art on April 15.

By 1 a.m., the line stretched past Uncommon Grounds from the Leavey information desk, approximately 150 people strong. Four hours later, that number had doubled. At 8:30 a.m., half an hour before tickets went on sale, there were an estimated 325 people in line, over half of whom had spent the majority of their night on the Leavey Center floor.

Tickets were sold out by 11 a.m., just two hours after they went on sale.

Having arrived at 7:30 p.m. with a group of friends, Michael cIntosh (COL ’00) grabbed the first spot in line. The number waiting swelled quickly, however, with a lull in people arriving between about 2 a.m. and 5 a.m.

The question for most of those waiting was how best to pass the time.

The 28th person in line, Nick Chin (COL ’00), said that he and some friends had played Frisbee in Sellinger lounge late at night after furniture had been cleared away, while Steve Sawchuk (COL ’00) and Julia Gray (SFS ’01), who arrived at about 10:20 p.m., said, “We figured out that if we played ‘1000 bottles of green beer on the wall’ it would take us four hours if each verse took 15 seconds.”

Sawchuk said he was waiting in line for “moral support” and not to buy tickets. “About 40 people offered to pay me extra if I would buy tickets for them,” he said.

William Brownlow (COL ’01), Hoya staff photographer and the 60th person in line, arrived at 11 p.m. with a tent. “The line thing is absurd, so I thought I’d add a little absurdity,” he said.

“I guess he thought it might rain in here,” one student in line ahead of Brownlow said.

Michael Boyle (MSB ’00) brought a couch that folds into a futon bed from his home. “I threw it on top of my car and took it here from T Street,” he said.

Boyle and Brownlow began a list to show the Dip Ball Committee at about 11:30 p.m. so that those already waiting would be able to write down the order in which they had arrived.

President of the School of Foreign Service Academic Council and Liaison to the Dip Ball Committee Lynn Chang (SFS ’00) explained that those in charge used the list to help distribute numbers, but that the list “was in no way official. It gave people who spent the night more of a sense of security so that they knew people weren’t cutting.”

Matt Taylor (COL ’00) left the building with braided hair and painted toenails courtesy of friend Alexis Mansfield (COL ’00) as a result of the long wait. The pair also came equipped with games and had passed the time by playing War and Trivial Pursuit.

“We got here at 12:30 a.m. and immediately thought we should have arrived two hours earlier,” said Taylor, who praised the list system devised by other students.

As was apparent by the green clothing, the numerous shamrock shaped hats and a proliferation of green bow ties, a large number of students, such as Joanna Christman (COL ’02) and Joe Nezgoda (COL ’02), came directly to the Leavey center to sleep after St. Patrick’s Day festivities.

Some of those waiting were SFS seniors who had been turned away from the previous morning’s sale of 200 tickets exclusively for SFS seniors. “We were numbers 103 and 104 in the SFS senior lottery, and they cut it off at 100,” said Hildreth England (SFS ’00) and ichael Di Giovine (SFS ’00), who were trying once again to get tickets.

Chang said that she had thought of Friday’s sale of 200 tickets to SFS seniors as a type of rehearsal for what took place on Saturday, and she was pleased at how smoothly it had gone. According to Chang, all those in line on Friday bought the maximum number, two tickets, while the majority of people buying on Saturday bought the maximum amount allowed for that day: four tickets per person.

Most students were impressed with how orderly the process was. Alumnus Dan Kiely (MSB ’99), waiting with friend Emily Gassman (MSB ’01), had waited for Dip Ball tickets before and said that the tickets sales were “much more controlled than last year.”

At ticket sales last year, the line was moved from inside Leavey up to the Esplanade, only after Norman Cheng (COL ’99) bought 110 tickets.

Department of Public Safety Officer David Budd agreed, saying, “People have been cooperative. We’ve just been asking them to keep alongside the wall and to return any furniture they may have moved to its proper place.”

Some remained critical however, suggesting that the Dip Ball Committee should set apart a day strictly for seniors of all schools to buy an allotted amount of tickets.

Lou Caravella (COL ’03) arrived at the Leavey Center at 11:30 p.m. and had spent his time watching DVD’s on a laptop. “I watched Austin Powers and Lost in Space. I don’t recommend the last one,” he said, adding that his primary reaction to the night was: “Leavey Center floor not as comfortable as VCE bed.”

Reactions from those who were finally able to buy the $40 tickets ranged from the ebullient to the annoyed.

“We won! We won!” shouted one girl, embracing her friends on the way out.

“I can’t believe I waited eight hours for a couple of pieces of cardboard – they should at least light up or flash or something,” said one student, holding his tickets at arms length and squinting at them.

As time progressed, tensions got higher near the end of the line, and several students searched for friends near the front who might be able to buy tickets for them. One anonymous student admitted that he had only been planning to buy two tickets but when approached and offered money, he bought two more for a $60 profit.

“What can you do?” said Chang. “Each person was allowed to buy four tickets for whoever they wanted. We can’t control people selling them, but we are doing our best to keep track of names of purchasers and ticket holders. Any changes have to be e-mailed to dipballhotmail.com to let us know.”

By 11 a.m., tickets were sold out, and approximately 40 students were turned away, though many had already left their spots near the back of the line when they realized getting a ticket would be impossible.

Chang said that the $38,000 raised “will cover our costs” and estimated, “This year we will probably break even. Last year we made a profit that we were able to use to fund other events, because the rent for the location was free.”

One student summed up the sentiment of many as he left Leavey saying, “That was quite an experience, but I’m glad it’s over.”

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