By Julia Ahart
Students dressed up for PRISM’s annual Queer Ball made their way to the Education Building Room 212 on Thursday, Oct. 31, to celebrate the end of Queer Awareness Month.
Lambda Theta Phi, Zeta Phi Beta and the Asian American Association co-sponsored the event.
This year, in honor of the ball falling on Halloween, PRISM ditched its usual formal attire and wore creative and fun Halloween costumes. Care Bears, power rangers, skeletons and bloody vampires alike poured into the space for a night of community, dancing and food.
PRISM, the oldest LGBTQ+ organization on campus, planned numerous events on campus for Queer Awareness Month, such as the Coming Out Monologues and Big Gay Bingo. Queer Ball is PRISM’s biggest event of the semester, and it rounds out the month in a fun, formal celebration.
Andi Aggarao, a sophomore nursing major and PRISM’s social media and publicity chair, attended the event as a freshman and it sparked her interest in joining the club.
“This was the starting point of me getting involved in PRISM,” Aggarao said. “It’s sort of like an anniversary of celebrating me coming out of my shell as a freshman and getting more involved on campus.”
Aggarao explained the significance of the ball to queer culture.
“Ball culture itself in the gay community has been a really big thing, especially for the start of drag culture in general,” Aggarao said.
As for the planning of the event, Aggarao explained that every aspect of the room, including the music, food, photobooth and the table decorations, was transformed into an inclusive, celebratory space with a spooky twist in light of Halloween.
Quinton Casillas, a sophomore communication studies major and PRISM’s community engagement chair, described the event as an “annual time to come together and celebrate each other, and no matter what time of year it falls.”
PRISM not only has a large presence on the College’s campus, but also in the surrounding community.
“We deal with not just social events like this, but also with educational events on campus and off campus,” Casillas said. “We work with organizations in Trenton and other organizations that work with the LGBTQ+ community.”
Casillas elaborated on the goal of the organization in the local area.
“Our biggest goal is not just to live in this community, but the community surrounding us,” Casillas said. “Being members of the LGBTQ+ community, it’s really important that we’re not just in our own little bubble at TCNJ because that community extends much further than that.”
Queer Ball is also a time to invite new members to the organization in a fun and welcoming way.
Victoria Pizzali, a freshman political science major, recently joined the organization. This year’s Queer Ball was the first one she attended.
“It’s definitely different than a lot of other parties I’ve been too,” Pizzali said. “But it’s more inclusive and it feels very inviting.”
For Pizzali, the event served as a way to connect with members of the LGBTQ+ community.
“Having an event with people that are like you is a lot better and a lot more exciting,” Pizzali said.