Watch out Cambridge: Princeton wants your balls
May balls, that is. A recent article from the Daily Princetonian reveals that Princeton’s Forbes College is planning a Great Gatsby-themed formal party. The name of the game is extravagance, with the college spending $20,000 on the event. Does this sound familiar? It should, the idea came from a Cambridge alumni:
The idea for a large-scale Forbes event arose out of Forbes College Master Christian Wildberg’s experiences as an undergraduate at Cambridge, where he attended elaborate end-of-year formal parties known as May Balls.
Unfortunately, Princeton: You may be one of the richest and prestigious universities in the world. You may have colleges with masters who studied at Cambridge. And you may even throw a big extravagant ball (perhaps in June, but referencing a previous month). But there are some things that you just can’t mimic from the other side of the pond. One glaring example:Forbes College’s party will be non-alcoholic. The annual Trinity May Ball, on the other hand, features hundreds of freely-flowing champagne bottles and a tent with a complimentary bar for the hard stuff. (Lots of non-alcoholic drinks too, but strangely no drinking water.)
I don’t mean to rain on Princeton’s parade, but while $20,000 is a lot of money… it’s just not in the same ballpark — no, it’s not even playing the same game — as the elaborate operations back in Cambridge. If you’re looking for decadence on Gastby-esque levels, then Princeton’s just on the wrong continent.
To be fair, I don’t think the university culture in the US is amenable to hosting a proper May Ball, even if economics weren’t an issue. At the risk of generalization, most US students don’t see their universities as `ancient pillars of academia,’ instead they think of it as a step of independence towards `the real world.’ In this respect, an event on the scale of a lavish Cambridge May Ball just doen’t mesh with graduating and getting a job in the city… or worse, graduating and living a research stipend as a graduate student.
(I don’t think anyone from Princeton reads this blog… but in case they do, I don’t mean to pick on Princeton at all. In fact, if any university in the US had a chance at emulating a May Ball, it’d probably be you guys.)
Filed under: Just for Fun, Student Life | 7 Comments