Celebrating the importance of community, the 16th annual Masquerade Ball hosted by the HWS Caribbean Student Association (CSA) kicked off this year’s event with a special focus on continuing to foster new and strengthen existing bonds among the Colleges, Geneva and the student-led CSA.
The Masquerade Ball was held on Saturday, March 28 at Belhurst Castle and featured a variety of performances and activities for guests to enjoy. This sold out event gave students, faculty and community members an opportunity to create new relationships, as well as strengthen ties among students. Ticket sales generated from this year’s Masquerade Ball went to CSA-hosted scholarship with the Center for Global Education. Students who have demonstrated a great financial need are eligible to apply; the scholarship is around $1,000.
CSA is an organization that invites Caribbean-identifying students and those from all other backgrounds to join together and help enlighten the HWS and Geneva communities about the Caribbean by highlighting the history, culture and social issues surrounding the region. The club also focuses on contemporary topics within HWS and beyond and encourages students to bring in their own perspectives to meetings, regardless if they do not have any social or ethnic ties to the Caribbean.
“The idea was created two years ago by the CSA Board members who graduated in 2013 to highlight the importance of studying abroad,” says CSA Prime Minister Rose Cherubin ’15. “At the time, almost every member of the board had traveled abroad and encouraged us to do the same, as they knew it would be beneficial for the future. Many of them understood the hardships that can come with funding a study abroad trip, and wanted to help give that opportunity for a student to have the same awesome experience as they did.”
Cherubin says that as a graduating senior her favorite part about the Masquerade Ball was seeing everyone from different backgrounds and experiences come together to have a great time.
“It is a representation of what we as a club take pride in and the culture of the Caribbean as a whole: diverse histories and traditions coming together to create a beautiful, rich culture,” Cherubin says. “Although passionate about its traditions, the Caribbean is accepting of new ideas and new people wishing to be a part of the West-Indian identity. We, as the Caribbean Student Association, are constantly finding new ways to place a unique and modern twist to our own traditional practices. Our board and supporters are comprised of people who are from varying ethnic and social backgrounds, and it is important for us to foster inclusion in many of our activities, while staying close to our mission of uplifting Caribbean culture.”
One of the most anticipated club events of the academic year, the 2015 Masquerade Ball featured performances from three student-run groups: 3 Miles Lost, the Hobartones and Hip~NotiQ’s Step & Dance Team. In addition, Christopher N. Lavin ’81, executive director of the Geneva Community Center and Boys & Girls Club of Geneva, served as the keynote seaker.
“They each brought their own energy and talent to the events that made it special for us,” Cherubin says. “Our keynote speaker, Christopher Lavin (Hobart College ’81), gave us a wonderful speech about the importance of giving back to one’s community and providing tools to shaping one’s future.”
Additionally, there was a guest DJ from Versatyle Entertainment based in Utica, N.Y. There also was a highly anticipated surprise act unveiled during the event.
For more updates, visit the Facebook event page for the Masquerade Ball.
The CSA holds weekly meeting at Intercultural (IC) Affairs on Thursdays, from 7 to 8 p.m. For anyone interested in learning about the organization or joining the board, CSA holds their weekly board meetings on Sundays, from 5 to 6 p.m. at IC.