Junior Tori Lopez put on her mint green dress and her white heels and joined the other 314 people to Zeta Tau Alpha’s April in Paris themed formal. The formal consisted of the members of the chapter and their dates, roommates or friends. They entered the ballrooms of the Riverview Bistro in Stratford, Conn. where the place was elaborately decorated with balloons and flowers.
Formals play a role in Greek life in a variety of ways, though they are not a requirement, but are something that the individual fraternity and sorority decide on.
“There are currently 13 total chapters on campus— eight sororities and five fraternities. We typically see all the sororities having a formal both semesters and if the fraternities choose to have one, they typically reserve theirs just for the spring semester,” said the Director of Fraternity and Sorority life, Nick Frias.
There are many amenities that go into entertainment at formal depending on each organization’s budget.
“A lot of money goes into formals—food, DJ, the venue itself, etc. so it really depends on if each chapter has the financial means to host one for both semesters,” said Frias.
Many members of the Greek life community enjoy the stylistic aspect of formal, as well as the fun time that comes along with it.
“I love dressing up and dancing, so formal was something I really looked forward to,” said sophomore Emmy Arellano.
For others, many people enjoy attending formal, as they feel it brings their organization together.
“I look forward to events such as formal because I believe it is a great bonding experience for our chapter,” said junior Carolyn DeFranco.
Some members look at formal as a chance to connect with new people.
“Formal gives everyone time to socialize and be together outside of the school environment. It’s also an opportunity to meet new people in your sorority or fraternity,” said sophomore Julia Fischer.
The connections with each other are what many people focus on, but others believe more come from them. Some of these women view these events as time with their “family.”
“I believe that these events do make a difference to our chapter… I was able to hang out with sisters that I don’t get to see too often and of course get ready with my family line,” said junior Gianna Romagnoli.
Though it is a fun night for many, safety is Sacred Heart’s priority. Therefore, the school has their input on what is important as well as rules for events like these.
“I do think formals can be beneficial, especially when they are conducted appropriately. Chapters are supposed to register their formals with the Office of Fraternity & Sorority Life and follow certain safety procedures like having sober Social Event Managers and have a separate bar area for 21+ individuals,” said Frias.
During the current times, some members believe that COVID-19 has put a damper on formals for a few years which is in part why they are excited for this year’s events.
“It has been a while since we were able to have formal, so it was nice to have such a special event like this again for our girls,” said DeFranco.
Fraternities and sororities have many events over the course of the year but formal is a big event in Greek life that is enjoyed by many.
“The whole community shares the excitement of doing something altogether,” said junior Gabby Teutul.