Nearly 100 dancers bought tickets and participated in the International Student Association’s spring formal. Many countries were represented with international music, food and clothing. (Christian Fiero)

By Courtney Tennill

A middle school formal dance has three main components: middle-aged chaperones, atrocious music and awkward slow dancing. A college formal dance-well, that’s a little different. And a college formal dance thrown by internationals from countries like India and South Korea-well, that’s anything but ordinary.

This past Saturday, Eastern’s International Student Association hosted its Spring Formal Dance in the Weaver Gym.

Approximately 100 guests paid $3 each for a night of dancing and refreshments with an international feel.

But this dance wasn’t just a break from studying; its ultimate goal was to raise money for the Madison County Red Cross, which will close after this year unless it can raise $50,000 by the end of December.

ISA’s officers brought up the idea for a formal dance after international students enjoyed the President’s Ball. And after learning about the needs of the MCRC, they decided to sell tickets and donate the proceeds.

“In previous years, ISA had raised money for charitable causes,” said Beth Blanchard, the International Services Coordinator for Eastern. “And when we heard the MCRC was in danger, we thought that the formal would be a good occasion to raise money for them.”

Thomas Wilson, a professional disc jockey from Complete Music, was hired to play an international music mix with hints of Indian and Latino culture.

Blanchard said the dance floor was full most of the night, and that if students weren’t dancing, they were probably eating.

“We had two appetizers from each country . and some dessert [from Aramark],” said Smriti Pande, the publicity coordinator for ISA.

Food was purchased from Thai Smile, Mr. Kabab, Masala and Aramark to give guests a feel for Thai, Arabic, Indian and Chinese dishes.

But food and music weren’t the only international elements of the dance.

“My favorite aspect was seeing people dressing up in international clothes and dance together as one group,” Trang Pham said.

Other students liked the idea of donating to the Red Cross.

“It was such a good idea to donate our entrance money to the Madison County Red Cross,” Seami An said. “Even if [someone] didn’t have fun, [that is] okay . because we did such a good thing.”

International students weren’t the only Eastern students in attendance. American students, as well as students involved with Eastern English Language Instruction (EELI), also showed up.

After ticket sales and donations, a total of $600 was donated to the Madison County Red Cross.

Lillian Pratt, a volunteer and CPR/first-aid instructor for MCRC, said the Red Cross was grateful.

“We’d like to thank everyone who donated-even in small amounts,” she said. “We’re doing really well and we’re already about halfway to reaching our goal. But we’re still dealing with everyday disasters like fires-so any help is always appreciated.”

For more information about the Red Cross, visit or call 623-7988 for more information about the Madison County Chapter.

To learn more about ISA and other ISA events, contact Smriti Pande at or Beth Blanchard at