Updated: Jan. 22, 2017 at 8:45 p.m.
Hours after Donald Trump was sworn in as U.S. president, students donned black-tie attire to dance the night away at GW’s inaugural ball Friday night.
Between 8 p.m.and midnight, thousands of students, staff and alumni filled the Omni Shoreham Hotel to enjoy dancing, drinks and hors d’oeuvres.
The Omni Shoreham Hotel, located near the Woodley Park Metro station, was the perfect setting for a ball. The glitzy chandeliers exuded glamour and regality.
Most guests arrived at the hotel between 8:30 and 9:30 p.m. During that hour, a long line of students waiting to enter spilled out of the lobby onto the sidewalk outside.
About an hour into the event, University President Steven Knapp spoke from the stage in one of the 12 ballrooms about how unique the ball is for GW students.
“What a crowd,” Knapp said. “A front row seat in the theater of history. That’s what we have at GW.”
Knapp said that although this presidential election is a “complex moment in history,” students must come together as a nation during the peaceful transition of power. He encouraged students, saying they will “shape the destiny of our great democracy.”
Of the 12 ballrooms, the largest housed performances by DJ Phlipz and cover band Millennium. DJ Phlipz played trending tunes and Millennium performed a mix of old and new hits.
With so many rooms in the hotel, it was easy to get lost, and some ballrooms, like the one featuring student performances, that weren’t centrally located got less foot traffic. But the larger ballrooms on the main thoroughfare were filled to the brim.
Ellen Boyer, a sophomore, said it was hard to find her way around, but that the different styles of music in each ballroom made the evening entertaining.
“More signs on where to go would help,” Boyer said. “Like this room is this way, that room is that way, that would help.”
Most rooms had large arrays of hors d’oeuvres, which were far from just light snacks. Choices ranged from mini cheeseburgers to spicy beef empanadas. For dessert, festive red, white and blue cupcakes were served, in addition to dainty cake pops that were perfect for portable snacking.
John Bravacos, a senior, said that although the ball’s location was far off campus, he and his friends were still excited to attend.
“It was one of those things I was looking forward to,” Bravacos said. “It was built up as an ‘only at GW’ moment.”
Between 10:30 and 11:30 p.m., most students left the ball and headed back to campus. Transportation via shuttle bus was fairly seamless for arrivals, but loading guests back onto the shuttles at the end of the night left students waiting in long lines.
Alli Przybylowicz, a senior, said she considered the event a “send off for Obama” and a time to enjoy with friends.
“I was just excited to spend time with friends and get dressed up,” Przybylowicz said.