Financial Status of Ball Is Said to Be Improving

As the Undergraduate Council's first-ever campus-wide gala ball approaches, its financial forecast is appearing much brighter.

Two weeks ago, organizers for the October 7 event said there would be a shortfall of up to $15,000 in the $75,000 budget, since corporate sponsorships would be much lower than originally anticipated.

And although corporate sponsorships from the Coop, BayBank and the Cambridge Trust Company for the event total only $6,000--some $14,000 short of what was hoped--ball organizers are maintaining that the dance will go forward as scheduled.

According to organizers, many of the costs for the event's amenities have turned out to be lower than expected. In fact, the tents, dance floor and lighting have turned out to be much cheaper than anticipated, student organizers said.

In addition, labor for the ball may be provided by council members themselves rather than by paid employees. Building permit fees for the tents may also be waived because the event is non-profit, council members said.


"[The ball's budget] is definitely not in the red," said organizer Manisha Bharti '98.

Two weeks ago, council members had expressed concern that certain amenities of the dance--like heating inside the tents or the D.J.--might have to be eliminated as a result of the impending financial crunch.

Now, council members said, the ball will break even as long as the originally-projected 2,000 tickets are sold.

And ticket sales are not a concern for the group, according to ball organizer Philip R. Kaufman '98. Kaufman cited a poll by the council last year saying that 65 percent of the student body would consider attending such an event.

"I think that if even half that came, it would be good," he said.

Council members said Monday night that they had not yet tallied the number of tickets sold.

Financial concerns aside, the ball is shaping up to be one of the largest-scale events in recent memory. After a reception in Widener Library which will be open to all members of the Harvard community, the Yard will be closed to anyone who is not a resident or ticket-holder for the ball.

"The general idea is just incredible," said event organizer Jonathan P. Feeney '97. "We'll have outdoor space heaters, huge tents and a 20,000 square foot dance floor."

"We're making this a very classy event, detail by detail," he said.

Rudd W. Coffey '97, another organizer, said the ball will help facilitate interaction between Harvard faculty and students in addition to giving students a "sense of ownership of the College."

"Most of the time, undergraduates kind of feel third class around here--there's faculty, there's grad students, then there's us," Coffey said. "[With the ball], we really feel that we're the central aspect of it. It's not the Japanese tourists or the people passing through or the Harvard groupies. It's just ours."