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Council Preparing Harvard Wide Ball

By Todd F. Braunstein

As the date of the first ever Harvard-wide formal approaches, details of the event are beginning to emerge.

Invitations to the Undergraduate Council's Harvard Ball will be sent to all returning upperclass students this week along with a letter from Dean of the College Harry R. Lewis '68.

The ball, which will cost $18 per ticket for undergraduates, will be held on October 7. Council members said that the ball will be held in the Memorial Hall courtyard in front of the Science Center.

The formal will center around two tents. The larger of these will house a 200' by 80' dance floor and feature the music of Lester Lanin's Orchestra, the swing band that played at the University's 350th gala celebration in 1986.

"We really wanted to capture the feel of the 350th," said Jonathan P. Feeney '97, the co-chair of the council's Campus Life Committee who is doing the bulk of the summer organizing.

That orchestra in particular was chosen to suit one of the formal's other goals--to attract faculty.

Indeed, the council members said they are making a concerted effort to draw professors to the gala.

The council will send out invitations to all tenured and junior professors in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, as well as the house masters, various University Hall administrators and an undetermined number of affiliates in house Senior Common Rooms.

President Neil L. Rudenstine also received an invitation, although council members said he hasn't offered a reply yet.

Even so, several big-name professors and administrators have already promised to attend, council members said.

Kenan Professor of Government Harvey C. Mansfield '53, Warburg Professor of Economics, Emeritus John Kenneth Galbraith and Reischauer Professor of Japanese Politics Susan J. Pharr have agreed to attend, Feeney and council member Philip R. Kaufman '98 said.

In order to attract as many faculty as possible, the council is allowing professors to attend free of charge. As a result, council members acknowledged, $25,000 in council-allocated student fees will be used to subsidize the professors' evenings.

Council members admitted yesterday that the decision to admit professors free of charge was a difficult one.

"It is odd. We struggled with that," Kaufman said. "The fact [is] that we're inviting the professors as our guests, [and] the idea is you don't make your guests pay. We can still change our minds."

"I wouldn't want anything to get in the way of a faculty member responding," Feeney said.

And in a move that may also cater to professors, a source close to the planning said that Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III is working on securing the right to use the Widener Library Reading Room as a reception room. Epps could not be reached last night.

Council members said yesterday that the formal will also include a second tent with a D.J.

The area between Widener and the Science Center will be well-lit, council members said.

Food will be provided at no cost to the council by Harvard Dining Services. Thecouncil has also hired bartenders, who will sellalcohol to faculty and students 21 and older.

In addition to the $25,000 it has allocated forthe event, the council is hoping to solicit $5,000donations from each of four local corporations:the Coop, Cambridge Savings Bank, Cambridge TrustCompany and BayBank.

Feeney said that he and Director of the ParentsAssociation Ellen H. Towne will visitrepresentatives from those companies next week,Epps has already penned a letter to the fourcompanies and is confident that the donations willcome through, Feeney said.

The council has an unimpressive track recordwhen it comes to organizing large social events.

Before a 1994 sell-out by They Might Be Giants,the council had lost more than $15,000 each onconcerts by De La Soul, Suzanne Vega and ZiggyMarley. A comedy show by Chris Rock this pastspring also several thousand dollars more thanwhat the council had planned.

Partly in the wake of its history and partlybecause of the ambitious $60,000-$80,000 budgetfor the project, the council has hired andindependent consultant, Diann Valle, at a cost ofabout $2,000.

"She's a professional, and when you're talkingabout that kind of money, it's important." Feeneysaid, "Not that the U.C. is anything but thehighest in professional [ism], but we just wantedto be safe," he added with a chuckle.

Valle helped organize Harvard's 350thcelebration, according to Feeney.

Council members said there was even a smallchance that the ball would be canceled in earlySeptember. That action would only be taken ifcorporate donations were lower than expected andif cost-trimming proved impossible, councilmembers said.

For now, council members said that scenario isunlikely. They expect the dance to go on, and hopeto draw between 1,500 and 2,000 students

In addition to the $25,000 it has allocated forthe event, the council is hoping to solicit $5,000donations from each of four local corporations:the Coop, Cambridge Savings Bank, Cambridge TrustCompany and BayBank.

Feeney said that he and Director of the ParentsAssociation Ellen H. Towne will visitrepresentatives from those companies next week,Epps has already penned a letter to the fourcompanies and is confident that the donations willcome through, Feeney said.

The council has an unimpressive track recordwhen it comes to organizing large social events.

Before a 1994 sell-out by They Might Be Giants,the council had lost more than $15,000 each onconcerts by De La Soul, Suzanne Vega and ZiggyMarley. A comedy show by Chris Rock this pastspring also several thousand dollars more thanwhat the council had planned.

Partly in the wake of its history and partlybecause of the ambitious $60,000-$80,000 budgetfor the project, the council has hired andindependent consultant, Diann Valle, at a cost ofabout $2,000.

"She's a professional, and when you're talkingabout that kind of money, it's important." Feeneysaid, "Not that the U.C. is anything but thehighest in professional [ism], but we just wantedto be safe," he added with a chuckle.

Valle helped organize Harvard's 350thcelebration, according to Feeney.

Council members said there was even a smallchance that the ball would be canceled in earlySeptember. That action would only be taken ifcorporate donations were lower than expected andif cost-trimming proved impossible, councilmembers said.

For now, council members said that scenario isunlikely. They expect the dance to go on, and hopeto draw between 1,500 and 2,000 students

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