Elegant dresses full of color and glitter, high heels, beautiful makeup, sparkling jewelry, elaborate hairstyles and elegant suits with ties or bows—these were some of the sights of the Student Life at Montclair (SLAM) Winter Gala that took place at The Terrace in Paramus, NJ.
The announcement of the event was made about a month ago through an Instagram post by the SLAM account. However, the only thing that was not revealed was the location, a fact that left everyone intrigued and excited at the same time.
Sophia Parra, a junior communication and media studies major, shared her reaction when she saw the place from the window of the bus that took them to the secret location.
“When I looked at it, I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is [going to] be such a nice place,’” Parra said. “And the venue is beautiful.”
As soon as you walked in, you could feel the positivity of the atmosphere. From the very beginning of the event, the guests were enjoying themselves and having fun, dancing, dining, and taking pictures and selfies all around the place.
The event also had fun activities such as a photo booth, a 360 photo booth machine and decorated backdrops with winter decorations where people could take pictures and videos.
Gabriella Gangemi, a junior family science and human development major, was enjoying the event with friends.
“The event, it’s a 10 [out of] 10,” Gangemi said. “[I] love the food, [I] love the vibe. [It’s] so good.”
Gangemi also said she enjoyed the process of getting dressed and ready for the event.
“It’s my favorite thing, get ready with my girls,” Gangemi said. “It’s the best.”
For many others, their favorite part of the event was the dance floor. This was the case for Cayla Ingram, a senior television and digital media major.
“I think it’s fun how everyone can come together and just relate and dance [to] their music,” Ingram said.
Maria Cavero Munoz, a student trustee of the Student Government Association (SGA), also said the dance floor was her favorite part of the event.
“Just dancing and singing with the whole SGA,” Cavero Munoz said. “We are like a little family, so I loved it.”
Due to the theme of the event and the dress code required to enter, many students, especially juniors, felt this was a prom—the prom they didn’t have back when they were seniors in high school.
“[The Winter Gala] kind of reminds me [of] a prom,” Gangemi said. “I was a senior and my prom got taken away, so I’m like, ‘This is my time.'”
Michelle Lee, a junior business administration major with a concentration in entrepreneurship, went through a similar experience during the pandemic.
“I consider this as like a prom that I never had in 2020 [in] my high school [years],” Lee said.
As was heard at previous SLAM events, many students felt that the event helped them take some of the stress out of their lives and clear their minds. This was the case for Amir Black, a junior fashion design and merchandising major, who felt that this dance was a relief from academic and personal stress.
“It helps me [to] take a moment away or to step back from just academic [things] and trying to pay bills,” Black said.
This event was a surprise for many students as it was much better than expected for some. Valery Alcantara Tavarez, a junior business administration major, had heard that in past years, very few people attended these dances organized by the university.
“Honestly, I heard feedback from previous Winter Galas and none of it compares to this,” Alcantara Tavarez said.
The event was a success among students, helping them make up for some of their lost experiences during the pandemic.