by Katie Patterson-Hutlett
Far Western Student Representative, 2013-2014
Dixie State University, St. George, UT
After a fantastic year of successes and awesome member participation, my fellow officers, Chapter Sponsor, and I chose to end the year with a grand celebration. Our Dixie State University chapter of Sigma Tau Delta, Alpha Pi Epsilon, became quite close throughout the 2012-13 school year, and our graduates deserved a proper glitzy sendoff. Luckily, the opening of the film The Great Gatsby (Baz Luhrmann, 2013) within a few days of graduation allowed our party planners an excellent literary theme to prepare an event around.
While I succumbed to the labyrinth of blingy 1920s hairstyles, ostrich feathers, and indoor croquet sets on Pinterest, my Co-President Summer, Vice President Jesse, Secretary April, and Chapter Sponsor Dr. AmiJo Comeford began working out the what, when, and where of the event. We chose to pre-order tickets to a matinee of the film, followed by a fancy dinner at a wonderful local restaurant, Cappelletti’s. Each member and their plus one came dressed in their very best Gatsby-inspired attire. Our budget allowed us to purchase movie tickets, print special Gatsby-esque party favors for our guests, and provide mini bottles of sparkling cider on the tables, plus a Gatsby-themed cake for dessert. Kind friends and the restaurant donated decorations and use of the restaurant’s back room. Members paid only for their dinner, ordered from a special menu the restaurant printed for us with three reduced-price options. It’s amazing what a local restaurant might do for you if you just ask!
It’s worth mentioning that our party budget of about $350 came from a year of heavy fundraising. It was important to us to try to fund as much of the Portland trip as possible for every member whose paper was accepted, and also to host an induction ceremony, an opening social, and a big send off at the end of the year. We knew if we didn’t raise enough money throughout the year, the Gatsby party wouldn’t happen. So we planned and completed two large rummage sales, a Valentine’s Day poetry and candy booth on campus, a campus-to-community literary event and silent auction, and a major photography printing sale. As a result of a year of hard work, we accomplished our fundraising goals and had enough money to have our party.
The party proved a wonderful success! Most everyone dressed Gatsby-appropriate in flapper dresses and bow-ties, suspenders and Mary Janes, and fabulous hair pieces and hats. Even our English department faculty attended both the matinee and dinner to show their support for the honor society (which they’ve helped fund when possible). After watching the film, we all had plenty to talk about amongst the white ostrich feather plumes, glittery glass beads, and tall silver vases adorning our tables. Generally, we all enjoyed the movie with the exception of minor complaints regarding, mostly, Toby Maguire’s slow narration and some cheesy visual interpretations of the text. Among the ladies, at least, it was agreed that Leonardo’s face, I mean, um, performance carried the film.
After a delicious dinner, spirited toasts, and a decadent dessert, we said our goodbyes to our graduating members, thankful for the opportunity to top off a wonderful year of Sigma Tau Delta with an unforgettable evening.