A Holiday Masquerade Ball open to the campus and community will serve as a fundraiser for the new Marquette County chapter of Families Against Narcotics' (FAN). Three NMU students are hosting the event as a community service internship through the Student Leader Fellowship Program. The ball is scheduled from 6:30-10 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 7, in Northern Center Ballrooms III and IV. Admission is $10 for the public and free to NMU students, though donations are requested.
The masquerade will be a casual holiday celebration. Greens, reds, golds, whites and silvers were chosen to fit the color scheme. A DJ will play a variety of dance music, musical theatre numbers and other songs by request. NMU's catering service will provide food and beverages.
The hosts encourage all attendees to wear masks and compete for the crowd's choice of best masquerade outfit. Also, a FAN informational table will offer pamphlets and Naloxone, which is used to treat a narcotic overdose in an emergency.
NMU students Mandy Bonesteel, Morgan Goss and Yasmin Phillips hope to have at least 300 attendees and raise many donations to hand FAN a sizeable check right before Christmas.
Bonesteel started helping FAN last year while working with community action Ultra Marquette their AmeriCorps VISTA. She worked with board members and became attached to their mission. She's done work with the Michigan State University Extension on opioid prevention and reducing stigma beforehand, having precedent to work with FAN, who inspired her more.
“I thought this would be a really good opportunity to keep them going by helping support their fundraising,” said Bonesteel. “I know right now all the money they're spending is coming out of their own pockets. They are working to reduce the stigma that surrounds addiction so that more people will go into recovery and get the support they need when we take some of that stigma away. It's not too close to finals week and Christmas, and people could attend and have a nice break between holidays. People can get out of the house and have an excuse to get dressed up and wear something that's been stuck in the closet.”
The planning process was extensive. The students needed to inquire about local businesses and secure prices and get the word out. They needed to schedule the ballrooms on a day when they were available, organize the event on social media and the Hub, and decide on the food and decorations.
“Marketing is huge,” said Bonesteel. “A big issue is making sure that people know that this event is happening so that they will come. The most time-consuming is creating marketing materials, reaching out to people, sending out email blasts saying, ‘Hey, this event is happening. We'd love to see you there.' It's been a big undertaking.”
There will be a raffle with gifts from Dead River Coffee, Econo Foods, Risak Pottery and Michigan Fair as prizes.