Photo courtesy of Student Association
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of patience, it was the age of foolishness, it was the 2018 ORU homecoming gala.
The Mayo Hotel filled to the brim with ORU students last Sunday night, Nov. 11, in an annual celebration of homecoming. It was a record attendance for the SA event.
Of people polled on The Oracle Instagram page, the average experience of the gala was rated 4/10—one being the worst experience and 10 being the best. Although not everything went as planned, talk of the event has surged through campus since last Sunday night. For those of you who missed it, here’s what happened, in my experience:
I arrived to the grand entrance just before 9 p.m., an hour after the event officially began—I prefer to be fashionably late, but apparently so does everyone else. After checking in, my date and I weaved through the mass of people in the grand hall—all either waiting to take a photo in front of the grand stairs, pose in front of the photo booth, or, alas, take the great voyage up to the 16th floor.
In an almost Titanic-like irony, Cellist Josue Gonzalez played on one side of the grand hall, but was nearly drowned out by the chatter of an overwhelming amount of guests. According to the itinerary of the event posted on SA’s Instagram page, the party was supposed to already have moved up to the Crystal Ballroom on the 16th floor. We searched for the elevators, which we finally discovered behind another long line of people. So, we opted to search for the stairs. I had just downed five Texas Roadhouse rolls prior to this, so I wasn’t mad about it.
We raced through the hall alongside peers until it felt like we were in an high-class escape room game. But wait, there are no stairs in sight—at least ones that aren’t locked.
I only saw two working elevators in the building. So we waited patiently until it was our turn to pack in like sardines.
We were in. But it still wasn’t time for the victory dance—the door wouldn’t close. Too many people. Who would volunteer as tribute to wait on the next—would there be a next?—elevator? After a few brave sacrifices, we were off. Up we went.
Finally, the elevator opened it’s tired doors to reveal the beautiful, elegant… parking garage? The stale stench of the basement filled the tiny spaces between all of us as we sighed collectively. I pushed the button for the ballroom again, but all it seemed to do was push our buttons—the doors didn’t budge. There were too many people, we hypothesized. We would have to lose another brave member.
To the two dauntless men that volunteered to be stranded in the middle of the parking garage, thank you for your service.
Moments later, we had made it the Crystal Ballroom but had not escaped the crowd. Upon entrance, there were delicious cheesecake squares and petite desserts to load up on before hitting the dance floor. The ballroom was monumental and beautiful in its simplicity—not requiring hardly any accessories aside from the crystal chandeliers and window drapes. The Ones That Made It were dancing through the decades—from swing to the chicken dance, there was fun being had.
I strained to hear most of the songs as the band was overpowered by the amount of chatter in the room, but that didn’t stop anyone.
Upstairs—or, rather, upelevator—on the penthouse, there were drinks and beautiful columns decorated by ORU artists. The penthouse opened up to the rooftop that offered a view of downtown Tulsa. We stayed long enough to snap a few pictures by the greenery and lights before retreating back to the warm indoors. We played Jenga as we waited for the line to the elevator to die down—nonetheless, my date’s favorite part.
Back at the ballroom, the attendance was still overwhelming and the dance floor was still full of people dancing away their cares. By 10:30 p.m., guests were awaiting the homecoming royalty to be announced—as promised. Anticipation continued to rise about what the big surprise would be at 11:11 p.m.
But perhaps the world would never know. By 11 p.m., the party was shut down and guests were being asked to head out for the night.
There were many that night that never made it up to the 16th floor—not even our photographer. But it was a matter of volume and broken elevators, according to SA.
“2018 homecoming redefined the word timeless,” said ORU student Mason Beasler. “Homecoming was straight fire… hazard.”
All fun and games aside, the event was filled with laughter and created timeless memories that students are unlikely to forget anytime soon.
“Lots of problems, but good friends,” said another student, Chrissy Buckman.
“I just would like to know, did SA think of the different outcomes?” responded student DayRonda Gause.
SA has yet to release an official statement regarding the gala, but have assured that they are working on the next steps.