In masks and formal attire, NYUAD students danced the night away at the University's MasquerADe Ball, hosted by NYUAD Vice Chancellor Al Bloom and NYU President John Sexton. Held on April 17 at the breathtaking Yas Hotel on Yas Island, home to Ferrari World and the Yas Marina Circuit, the event commemorated the conclusion of NYUAD's inaugural year.
The night began with a walk on the red carpet, where students were greeted with fruit cocktail drinks and appetizers. They were then led into the ballroom. With the dance floor surrounded by tables decorated with elaborate candlelit centerpieces and a photo slideshow of memories playing on television screens in the background, the students enjoyed a buffet dinner and dessert, as well as a ballroom routine by the NYUAD Dance Academy, which provided inspiration when everyone later took to the dance floor.
It was also a special evening for NYUAD's eight Resident Advisors, who were honored with the prestigious Presidential Service Award by President Sexton, Vice Chancellor Bloom, and Acting Dean of Students Julie Avina. The award, which recognizes those that have made significant contributions to and a positive impact on the University community in the areas of learning, leadership, and quality of student life, was a surprise to the recipients (including myself!) who had no idea they were receiving the honor. As awards were handed out and pictures were taken, the student body showed their approval by hooting and hollering for their favorite RA.
Damla Gonullu (NYUAD '14) said she began planning the event about two months prior. Working with fellow student David Bassini and a few NYUAD staff members, she coordinated everything, from the venue and table decorations to the menu. "I wanted an event at the end of the year where students could all get together and feel comfortable, have fun, and celebrate their accomplishments," she said. Although Gonullu spends most of her time studying engineering, she enjoys event planning in her spare time. Her experience comes from planning many events and dances for her high school in Turkey. "It helps me work on my social skills," she explained. "And even though I eventually want to be a doctor, I want to be able to plan fun parties for my staff!"
As for the masquerade theme, Gonullu credits the student body for the idea. "We asked the students and masquerade seemed to be popular. At first I was worried the boys might not be interested in getting involved, but we had a great turnout!" Indeed, almost the entire student body attended the event, and most were wearing unique, brightly colored masks covered in sparkles, sequins, and feathers. Many masks were actually homemade, and some students even chose to paint their masks directly onto their faces.
The best part of the night in Gonullu's opinion? Dessert. More specifically, the chocolate fountain. "People love chocolate fountains!"