At Swansea University, it’s nearly the end of the semester for some, and the beginning of a new one for others. As the campus and its crowd welcome the warm arrival of a new season, celebrations are just around the corner, and while the Student Union at the University organizes a multitude of events all throughout the year, the highlight of this month was the inaugural School of Culture and Communication Spring Ball hosted by Swansea University on Thursday 7th April from 6 pm at The Grand Hotel.
A Station Suite at the Grand Hotel, Ivey Place was booked and decorated on the evening of the ball. Large dinner tables and chairs with black linen were arranged facing the dance floor adorned with colourful balloons, ribbons, and cutlery. A bar was set up at the far end of the hall along with a DJ who entertained the crowd with rock songs from the 80s and 90s as well as dance songs on special requests all through the evening. In the lobby, an arrangement of champagne glasses on the right towards the entrance and a table with beer bottles on the left was set up and the students each were handed a glass as they headed to the ballroom.
The event started off with a round of welcome drinks served by the kind hotel staff, and as young women in pastel, flowy gowns and party dresses, each one as beautiful as the next, swayed to the music, clanking their champagne glasses, men in smart trousers and tuxedos soon joined them on the dance floor. The room was filled with laughter, a wave of excitement floating through the air, for this evening was a pleasant surprise post the pandemic and without the need to wear face masks anymore. At 6:45 pm, the host made an announcement, requesting everyone to take their seats. A short game was played afterward, and a few minutes later, the staff began setting up the tables for dinner.
The students were asked to book their meals in advance, during the registration, so it was easier for the staff to manage the individual order of each student. The starters were a flavourful variety of butternut squash, red pepper, chilli soup, king prawn cocktail with tabasco Marie sauce with a side of toasted local sourdough, and duck terrine with tomato chutney. Conversations flowed at the table as the jolly students enjoyed their food, and then it was time for the main course to be served. Bowls of buttered new potatoes and seasonal vegetables were placed first, followed by Tuscan style chicken in paprika, mushroom and spinach sauce, braised beef in red wine sauce, and delicious sea bass fillets with lemon and garlic butter. For vegetarians, an appetizing meal of Mediterranean vegetable tart was served.
Post a hearty main course, it was time for the much-awaited dessert. The colourful mango and passionfruit cheesecake with mango sorbet was a hit as were the chocolate and hazelnut tarts with vanilla ice cream. For the toffee lovers out there, the sticky toffee pudding with a rum and date sauce was a toothsome treat!
Around 8:30 pm, the students had begun stepping onto the dance floor, once again, grooving to the beats and dancing in large groups. Few remained seated at the table, simply observing and nodding their heads to the music, but as the DJ played Los Del Rio’s ‘Macarena,’ everyone joined in, dancing in unison. Students who wanted to attend the afterparty were given a free entry ticket to Jack Murphy’s shortly after. The ticket also came with a free shot.
The night came to a close on a positive note, with students trailing to the afterparty, taking photographs, and applauding the staff for their excellent service. The chilly weather and the slight drizzle outside the cozy comfort of the hotel certainly didn’t seem to affect their enthusiasm that night.