Friendmal: free fun for all!

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DePauw students pose for a photo during the formal KEISUKE OHTANI

“La Macarena” was blasting through the speakers as nearly 100 DePauw students danced along in the middle of the ballroom. Students from diverse nationalities, ethnicities and cultures attended the International Student Association’s (ISA) annual Formal Night Party. This year the event was held at The Alexander Hotel in downtown Indianapolis on Saturday night.

“It’s a friendmal: friends’ formal party,” said senior Sophia Lan, president of ISA. This year, Lan and the executive board members tried to unite and connect the growing number of international students with the majority and other multicultural students on campus. “We want you to hang out with people that you don’t necessarily hang out with,” Lan said.

The formal allowed nearly 100 students to mingle for free without alcohol. The event partnered with other multicultural organizations such as World Association of Musicians, Instrumentalists, and DANcers (WAMIDAN), Asia Club, Muslim Student Association (MSA) and JClub. DePauw Student Government funded transportation, venue and dinner fees.

Sophomore Luka Ignac enjoyed being able to attend a formal, a type of event that is usually put on by Greek chapters. “It was a great thing that DePauw has organized supports for international students because generally, as international students, we are not always part of the Greek life,” Ignac said.

Sophomore Manpreet Kaur said the formal was a way for the community to come together since many students within the international community do not belong to Greek chapters. Kaur helped organize the event as an executive member of WAMIDAN. “This is a fun gathering for people involved in the international community, eating good food and dancing,” Kaur said.  

Sophomore Giovanni Ordoñez too enjoyed the formal and saw it as an opportunity to bring the international community together. “This is the environment where everyone can come together as different cultures,” Ordoñez said. “A place where everyone is accepted.”

First-year Vy Hoang thought the night was successful and an opportunity for students to have a good time together as a community. “[It was] a night for all international students to unite and have an amazing evening together, taking photos, talking and dancing after a whole long year,” Hoang said.

Sophomore Shuto Araki, also a member of Greek life, enjoyed both the similarities and differences the ISA formal had in comparison with Greek events. “There was no drinking involved. We danced together and had a good time,” Araki said. The formal played both American and Latin American music throughout the night. “I think its focus is more on diversity than any other parties in fraternities.”