LGBT students hold Black and White Ball for all

On Friday, students from colleges around Utah danced the night away in the Shepherd Union Sky Room.

20144-1 Eva Kor (kaitlynjohnson) CMYK-2
(Photo by Jake Alvey) (Left to right) Sam Martinson, Rebecca Larson and Dakota Jackson share laughs on the dance floor at the third annual Black and White Ball, hosted by WSU’s GSA, on Friday.

Sponsored by Weber State University’s own LGBT community, the Black and White Ball invited anybody and everybody from any university to dance.

Karlee Berezay, the current LGBT advocate for WSU, was in charge of the ball this year.

“The idea was to throw an LGBT-friendly ball,” she said. “It is a space where people can come with dates, their partners or groups of friends and just be able to dance with each other.”

Berezay said the ball is a safe place for the LGBT community to be and to have their own event.

“This event is to help celebrate and give the LGBT community a chance to have and do their own thing on campus,” said Sarah Arnold, next year’s vice president of diversity.

The dance was hosted by a guest DJ, who took song requests all night long via Twitter or personal request.

“All events at WSU should be events that LGBT people should feel comfortable going to,” Berezay said. “. . . I think that is how (WSU) is becoming.”

Ryan Smith, member of the Diversity Board, said the dance was a great start to the April LGBT movement.

“To the people that don’t come tonight, they are missing out,” Smith said.

The ball is in its third year, and attendance is increasing.

“We invite all the schools around, and it is super cool when they come,” Berezay said.

Berezay said she contacted the Gay-Straight Alliance presidents of Utah’s universities to personally invite their LGBT community members and other students.

Arnold said she believes WSU is the only Utah university to have this type of event that is dedicated to LGBT people but also open to any student wanting to participate.

“Once people get in there dancing, they are doing it until the end of the night,” said Arnold, who also participated in the dancing. “We all have fun, and it doesn’t matter who your partner is.”

Berezay said she has been working hard to create a unified place for all types of individuals to make connections.

“I used to dance, and I have always believed that it is a great way to express yourself and have fun,” she said.

Many individuals on campus helped to make the ball a success this year.

“The Greeks are always so supportive of everything that we do,” Berezay said. “They love coming to this dance and being able to jive with the rest of us.”

She also credited WSU faculty, staff and the Student Involvement & Leadership Office.

Several of the current executives from the WSU Student Association attended the ball. Tessa Diamond, current vice president of leadership, said she loved the opportunity to dance and let go.

“It was great to be with my fellow Wildcats in a fun and safe atmosphere,” she said.

Etta Chavez, Lead Weber chair, said she really enjoyed the decorations at the dance.

“They had pictures of all different couples lit up in the room,” Chavez said. “It really highlighted the variety of relationships that are out there.”

WSU’s GSA holds many events throughout the year, including a book club and safe zone trainings. More information is available in Room 232 of the Shepherd Union Building.