Campus Advocacy, Unmasked

Photo Courtesy of Facebook

Entertainment will be unmasked at the second annual Yule Ball on Friday. This year, attendees will enjoy winter festivities with a mysterious flair, thanks to New Paltz’s chapter of the Harry Potter Alliance, Dumbledore’s Army of New Paltz.

This year’s ball features a masquerade theme. Although there is no dress code, dressing up is encouraged. Last year’s ball fashions included formal gowns and dresses for the ladies and dress pants for the gents.

Masks will be given out to the first 100 people who donate. Students are permitted to bring their own masks, as long as they are not full-face masks. The bottom half of their face must be uncovered.

“We decided to make the event a masquerade this year because we wanted to change things up a little bit,” Club President Julia Fell said. “Last year was more of a traditional dance and we had a great response, so this year we added one more element of fun.”

This year’s food will be catered by local restaurant, LaBella, with Moxie Cupcakes returning as the dessert provider and the DJ B!Rock will return for music. The festivities will run from 8 p.m. to midnight.

Natania Buchbinder, a third-year English major with a concentration in creative writing, met her boyfriend at last year’s ball. She went with friends, the delicious cupcakes from Moxie Cupcakes luring her in.

“Ian and I started talking a little before the dance began because I recognized him from a club meeting,” Buchbinder said.

The couple started dating a few weeks later and will be attending this year’s ball.

Five dollars is the suggested donation, which goes toward the education department of Planned Parenthood.

The education department runs programs on safer sex awareness, sexuality education and teen pregnancy prevention programs which encourage “young people to either postpone sexual intercourse or use contraception when they do engage in intercourse,” according to Planned Parenthood’s website.

After students expressed concern, wishing to change the charity to something less controversial, the committee maintained its decision to donate strictly to the education department of Planned Parenthood, which does not include the departments that provide abortions, cancer screenings or vaccinations.

“There is a lot of controversy surrounding women’s rights and reproductive rights right now, and we have had some concern about where the money raised was going due to worry about pro-life/pro-choice issues,” Fell said. “However, we made the decision to donate strictly to the education department of Planned Parenthood, which is completely separate from the department that handles any kind of medical procedures.”

However, some students remain upset about the decision.

“Planned Parenthood is not an organization that I can support due to my ethical beliefs regarding abortion,” Joshua Brooks, a third-year accounting and finance major, said.

He said he hoped the Yule Ball could benefit a less controversial issue, such as relief aid for Superstorm Sandy victims.

Tabitha Garnica, a second-year English major, said she still felt alienated because of Planned Parenthood’s inclusion in the event.

“I respect everyone’s views, but I felt that it wasn’t necessary to turn a college dance into a moral dilemma,” Garnica said.

A major theme of the Harry Potter books is to use teamwork to defeat the problems of the world and improve it, Fell said. The club believes the decision to donate to Planned Parenthood correlates with that theme.

“We are concerned only with the education of teens and young adults about how to stay safe,” Fell said. “By working as a club and a campus community to raise money to donate to a charity, and in turn working with that charity, I think that we’re pursuing that goal of making the world a better place together.”