A night amongst the stars at the Meadow Brook Ball

Students will have a chance to glitz it up this dreary January and February with Oakland University’s oldest student tradition – the Meadow Brook Ball.

Forty-two years strong, guests will experience the old and the new—an evening in the mansion with more entertainment options that revolve around an old Hollywood theme, or “A Night Amongst the Stars.” The event is offered Jan. 30 and Feb. 6.

“It’s a full package of activities,” Jean Ann Miller said. Miller is the advisor for the Meadow Brook Ball Committee, the group that organizes the event.

That package takes quite a bit of planning. The committee keeps costs down by recruiting OU students for entertainment.

“It’s a lot of home grown talent,” Miller said.

This year’s ball will feature two comedians, both OU students, Miller said. One won OU’s Got Talent two years ago. Theater majors will impersonate iconic Hollywood stars.

Music will be provided by WXOU and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, an on-campus group that will play jazz. The Ballroom Dance Club will offer dance lessons. 

There will be some outside entertainment as well, such as a photo booth, caricature and letter artists, and a scavenger hunt on the upper floor of the mansion. Food will be catered by the mansion and will include hors d’oeuvres and alcohol-free cocktails, Miller said.

The cost for both nights is $20,000, Miller said. The committee partners with the Student Activities Funding Board and fund raises so it can keep ticket prices down, according to Ashley Kolomyski, secretary of the committee and a fourth-year student studying elementary education.

 Tickets this year were $20 per person.

“It really is a bargain,” Miller said.

The theme was picked shortly after last year’s ball, and planning began over the summer with purchases made by the decorations sub-committee. Regular meetings started in September. The public relations sub-committee deals with advertising and the donations sub-committee works on fundraising, Kolomyski said. 

Everything is on schedule this year, Kolomyski said. Even so, decorations can’t go up until after mansion touring hours the day of the ball – around 3 p.m. The month before the ball is the busiest.

“I don’t think it ever won’t seem hectic,” Kolomyski said.

All the work is worth it, Kolomyski said. She said she likes planning the ball and the committee always gets good reviews.

“People like being in the mansion a lot because it’s a nice piece of history,” she said. “Overall it’s just a fun night.”

Matilda Dodge Wilson, founder of OU, lived in Meadow Brook Hall. It is a National Historic Landmark and was built in the 1920s.

Miller said she went to the ball when she was an OU student and had a great time.

“It was awesome, but it gets bigger and better every year,” she said.

She doesn’t remember having as many activities available when she went.

“It was just the ambiance that stayed with me,” she said.

Kolomyski’s parents went to the ball when they were students and kept their photos.

Miller pointed out how special the ball is – how many college students get to spend an evening in an on-campus mansion? Guests understand the significance of what Miller called an elegant and sophisticated event. Everyone dresses up and students are respectful, Miller said.

“It gives a different perspective to their college life,” she said. “This is on your bucket list.”