Missouri State University’s Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority held their first formal since the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Formal is an event prominent in the FSL community where all members get together to celebrate their chapter through a dance. Members get dressed up and can bring dates. 

Prior to COVID-19, dances were held at an indoor venue and had a dinner provided. Because of COVID-19, the event had to be held outside, as well as having masks required by those who attended. Dinner was also modified to sandwiches and fruit cups to help with food separation according to Cassie Mitchell, ASA social chair and junior comm science and dis/ audiology major.

ASA’s formal was held on Oct. 24 at the Co-Op Venue in Pleasant Hope, Missouri which is about 30 minutes from MSU campus.

“This was an outside venue, so there was a lot of room to roam around, space out tables, disperse our photo walls,” Mitchell said. 

In previous years, bus transportation to the venue was available to members of the sorority and their guests. However, this year because of COVID-19, bus services were not offered because Mitchell did not want people sitting too close together on the bus. Guests were encouraged to carpool on their own, according to Mitchell. 

The turnout for this formal was about 90 or so people. People were able to come and go at different times, according to Anya Jones, ASA Vice President of Public Relations and Recruitment and senior dietetics major. 

Since the formal was held outside this year, one problem ASA ran into was weather conditions. 

“It was really cold out, which was a problem that was out of anyone’s control,” Mitchell said. “Everyone was very understanding and just grateful to have something.” 

Though it was cold for guests, “it was better for COVID-19 precautions than being inside,” Ashley Uhlmann, ASA Panhellenic Association Delegate and junior psychology major said.

Mitchell said planning for the formal was a lot easier since there was less to do.

“I think it would have upset a lot of the girls if we didn’t have (the formal), so I guess it is fine as long as it met safety guidelines to keep people safe,” Jones said. “To be honest, I don’t think anything is very ideal, but we have to keep living life, just safely and I appreciated the event being outside and spacious.

However the hardest part was, “following food guidelines and being sure to stay in the (Greene) County guidelines, MSU guidelines, and ASA national guidelines,” Mitchell said. 

When asked what she would change for a future formal, Mitchell said she would consider taking into account the date of the formal to plan better around the weather. 

“I was excited to still be having a formal, despite COVID-19,” Uhlmann said. “So much has been changed this year so it was good to have a little bit of normal, even though aspects of formal were changed to keep us safer.”

“Overall, it was a really great time, and after figuring out all of the guidelines and specifications necessary, I would totally recommend putting in the extra work planning to see everyone having a great time,” said Mitchell. “It was worth it all to see the new members enjoying their first formal in Alpha Sigma Alpha.”