The Question: What formal events happen at Brown?


Welcome to The Question, where you’ll get answers about life at Brown all year long! I’m Celina Stewart, and I’ll be bringing you insights (and photos!) into my fourth year at Brown and my answers to some of the questions I wish I’d asked before college. 

One of the biggest highlights of the year in high school, at least in my experience, was prom. At my high school, “prom-posals” and picking out the perfect pre-prom dinner venue took up conversation for months before prom. If this isn’t the case for you, you still probably looked forward to and attended some formal event with friends. When I got to college, I realized that there would probably be more opportunities for dressing up, dancing, and of course, tasting new restaurants. So, what formal events happen at Brown?

There are a couple fun, formal occasions! Of course, this will depend on what activities you participate in, but some of the main ones:

Gala! This is happening next weekend, and occurs once a year during spring semester. Basically, Gala is a formal dance at a nice convention space, and most people take the time to dress up and take photos with friends. My friends have always gone to dinner beforehand, and for those of my friends who haven’t attended in the past, it’ll be a fun way to get together and dance.

Ebony Soiree! Thrown this year by Students of Caribbean Ancestry, Ebony Soiree was held in Sayles Hall and served as a fun gathering space to celebrate students of color at Brown. It featured performances by student groups, and gave a similar opportunity for people to dress up, socialize, and spend quality “formal” time with friends. Like Gala, Ebony Soiree happens once a year in the spring semester.

Campus Dance! Held at the end of every year just before commencement activities begin, Campus Dance is an opportunity for Brown students current and past to dress up, socialize, and enjoy a dance on the Main Green. I attended for the first time last year, and found it to be a fun experience.

These are the main three formal events I can think of off the top of my head (the sororities and fraternities hold formal events, but they aren’t open to the entire campus population) and the great news is that all events sponsored by the university give you the opportunity to apply for a discount or free ticket, so budget doesn’t have to be a problem.

There are also a ton of different ways to make sure you can look the part: thrift stores offer cheap options for female and male formal wear; many of the nail salons (if you’re into that) offer student discounts; and there are a ton of different students on campus happy to lend you a dress or help with hair/makeup.

Want more photos and FAQ updates? Check out @thebruinclub on Twitter! Have questions or comments for me? Want more details?  Send an email to and I’ll get back ASAP!


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