Student leaders were pleasantly surprised by the unexpectedly strong turnout at the second annual Class Council Charity Ball, which raised about $5,000 Friday.
About 300 students filled the Marvin Center Grand Ballroom in semi-formal attire, raising money for For the Love of Children, a local charity that helps abused and homeless D.C. children purchase school supplies and other necessities.
“I was very impressed with the turnout,” said junior Josh Shimmerling, Class Council vice president. “Students will take any excuse to get dressed up for a good cause.”
Last year, the ball raised $7,000 for the Jonathan Rizzo and Tom Weaver memorial funds, in honor of GW students who died in recent years. Rizzo and Weaver’s parents chose last year’s charities in addition to attending the event.
But this year’s Charity Ball was more upbeat than last year’s event, which maintained a more somber tone, Shimmerling said. He said another difference was the lack of Greek-letter affiliation this year, because Rizzo and Weaver were both members of fraternities.
The lack of Greek-letter affiliation at this year’s ball caused some initial concern about turnout, so the price of the event was dropped from $20 to $15.
Students danced throughout the evening to a mostly “top 40” music collection. Class Council also served hot appetizers, sodas and bottles of water, and raffled off prizes.
“I feel it’s really important to support charity while having a good time,” freshman Elon Shore said.
Shimmerling said the 1,000 raffle tickets sold during the course of the night contributed heavily to the proceeds.
“We had better prizes this year because we started (planning) earlier and spent more time obtaining them,” Class Council President Michelle Milberg said.
After purchasing raffle tickets for $1 each, students had the chance to win items such as stereos, DVD players, gift certificates to restaurants, weekends in D.C.-area hotels and a 15-day, $888 Eurorail pass.
“Class Council is all about school unity,” said sophomore Ian Kandel, Class Council treasurer.
Class Council members said they hope to continue the tradition of the event, which will support a different charity each year.
“We chose (For the Love of Children) because we knew it was a charity that many GW students help out with,” Milberg said. “We wanted (an organization) that students could identify with and recognize.”
Next year’s charity has yet to be determined, said Tal Viskin, junior class chair.
“This is our biggest event, one for the whole University,” Shimmerling said. “Usually they are usually class-sponsored.”
Organizers said they are happy students had fun at the ball.
“We’re very happy so many people at GW are taking advantage (of the Charity Ball),” Milberg said. “We love seeing everyone dress up.”
Triple Play, Marvin Center Governing Board, Program Board, the Student Association and Dining Services co-sponsored the event.
-Rachel Gould contributed to this report.