Chrysalis takes flight

Chrysalis takes flight

Julianne Treene, Contributing Writer

Since 1999, the annual Chrysalis Ball has brought students, faculty, and staff together for a night of music, dancing, and celebration. Typically held the weekend before finals of the spring semester, Chrysalis is a tradition that marks the successful completion of another academic year. The event features a “throwback” artist, and past performers have included Rick Springfield, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, M.C. Hammer, and Pat Benatar. The annual event is held in Gerhard Fieldhouse and guests dress in semi-formal attire for the festivities. In addition to the special guest artist, student performers often appear at the annual ball as well.

The Chrysalis Ball is a student-driven event that was first created by  Paige Cull ’01. “Paige and her committee did a great deal of research and resurrected ‘the all-campus ball’ event” with the “goal to revive old and create new campus traditions,” Associate Dean of Students Kari Conrad said. After a campus-wide contest, “the event officially became Chrysalis—and Bucknell hosted the first with The Cherry Poppin’ Daddies,” Conrad said.

The event is now run by the Activities and Campus Events (ACE), and the process is a semester-plus commitment spearheaded by an executive board member. The Chrysalis Chair is in charge of organizing almost all aspects of the event, including choosing the food and decor, organizing marketing ideas and strategies, and helping secure artists who have a generational crossover appeal. “We start looking for an artist in the fall semester and then the entire spring semester is filled with marketing strategies and decor and food planning” Holly Grosholz ’17, president of operations for ACE and 2016 Chrysalis Chair, said.

Regarding the artist selection process, ACE works hard to find an artist the whole University community can enjoy.

“We sent out a survey in November to the Bucknell community asking them to identify their top three choices of artists they’d like to see at Chrysalis,” Kimberly Shust ’18, this year’s Chrysalis Chair, said. Despite their best efforts, the committee did not have a lot of luck booking the initial survey’s top voted artist. In general, you can never really be sure how the artist selection process is going to pan out because there are always circumstances out of the committee’s control. However, “when we included The Sugarhill Gang on the second survey sent out in January, [we] had a lot of positive feedback from both the students and the faculty and staff” Shust said. The Sugarhill Gang accepted their offer, and the committee members are excited to have The Sugarhill Gang as this year’s performer.

However, the job doesn’t end for the Chrysalis Chair after an artist is selected. A typical week might involve “several meetings with a variety of offices on Bucknell’s campus, getting in contact with group organizations to talk about Chrysalis or help promote the event, and brainstorming and/or creating elements for our marketing campaign or decor aesthetic,” Shust said. Although she admits her job is not always easy, Shust does believe it is “100 percent worth it” and is glad to “have the honor of making [her] mark on this Bucknell tradition.”

The processes of bringing the annual Chrysalis Ball to life involves the participation of a variety of different groups across the University community. ACE members make a lot of the event decorations themselves, including the now favorite Chrysalis sign.

“The whole organization helps out in the creation of the event” Grosholz said, going on to mention that it is “all hands on deck” the week of the event. Grosholz said despite the stress, it’s all “worth it when you see the 2,000 plus students, faculty, and staff enjoying the event.”

The annual Chrysalis Ball unites the community together through the mutual joy of music. University students and their guests are welcomed to dance and enjoy the array of delicious food, particularly the chocolate fountain—a fan favorite. Eighteen years later, Chrysalis is now a long-standing tradition that is highly anticipated by students and faculty.

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