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Area senior citizens celebrate 20 years of prom-going

March 14, 2008

KALAMAZOO--Area senior citizens will be able to relive prom night for the 20th consecutive year during Western Michigan University's annual Senior Prom Thursday, March 20, in the East Ballroom of the Bernhard Center on WMU's main campus in Kalamazoo.

The semi-formal event is a fun-filled nostalgic evening that brings hundreds of senior citizens together with WMU students, faculty and staff for a night of Big Band music and swing and ballroom dancing.

Members of the general public are welcome to attend. Admission is free, as is parking in the nearby parking ramp--Parking Structure #1. Those who arrive early will be able to "warm up" by participating in Early-Bird Bingo from 5 to 7 p.m., then enjoy the prom from 7 to 10 p.m.

This year, the theme is "A Waltz Down Memory Lane." In keeping with previous years, dance contests, prizes, free refreshments and photo keepsakes will enliven the evening. Music will be provided by the Otsego Jazz Band.

"The Senior Prom is one of the best ways for Kalamazoo area senior citizens and WMU students to enjoy an entertaining, and for many students, new experience," says Kristi Cowhy, student coordinator for the event and a junior elementary education and early childhood development major from Avoca, Mich.

"Rarely as students do we have such an amazing opportunity to enjoy the company of seniors who have so much to teach us."

All of the night's activities allow everyone to relax and have fun, adds Cowhy, a resident assistant for Draper/Siedschlag Residence Hall, which is organizing the prom.

"Don't worry about not knowing the steps to swing dancing," she advises. "Our seniors are great teachers, and in 19 years, no one has ever walked away without having had a great time. What could be better than free food, music, dancing and great company?"

The Senior Prom began in 1988 as a way for older WMU alumni and area residents to share an evening of fun and reminiscing with current students. The event gradually grew in popularity and last year, attracted some 500 senior citizens and members of the University community.

Early-bird activities were introduced in 1993 to accommodate the many seniors who prefer to arrive before the dancing starts and spend their entire evening on campus.

A half-dozen committees and scores of volunteers are helping Draper/Siedschlag organize the 2008 prom, and area businesses are again donating prizes. Financial assistance is being provided by several WMU organizations, including the Office of Residence Life, the Residence Hall Association, the Division of Student Affairs and the individual residence hall councils.

To get the word out about the event, organizers rely on mail invitations, announcements at area senior citizen centers, and newspaper advertisements and stories. A personal invitation is not necessary to attend, and there is no need to RSVP.

For more information, contact Kristi Cowhy at kristi.l.cowhy@wmich.edu or (269) 387-9973. Information also may be obtained by calling Jessica Robinson, Draper-Siedschlag Hall director, at (269) 387-4791.

Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, jeanne.baron@wmich.edu

WMU News
Office of University Relations
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5433 USA
(269) 387-8400