As the sun was setting, the party was just beginning at the Black Student Union met gala. 

Themed “A night under the stars,” the first annual event was held April 13 and brought together students from diverse backgrounds across corners of campus to revel in a night of celebration and camaraderie.

For Elon University junior Madison Williams, the event held special significance. 

“This felt like my official prom,” Williams said. “I had a prom, but it was hosted by a student and their parents because it got canceled due to COVID, so this feels like an actual prom. It feels really good to be in a group of my peers and just party and dance the night away.”

Williams was crowned junior princess during the announcement of the royal court, which comprised of a prince and princess from each grade that were voted for and awarded during the gala. The court also included freshmen Brianna Crawford and Blake Mobley, sophomores Maleah Proctor and Kashawn Myers, junior Tyler McKellar, alongside seniors Anne Sophie Hill and Aleezah Adams.

Erin Martin | Elon News Network

On April 13, the winners of the Black Student Union Met Gala Royal Court smile. Each grade elected and crowned both a prince and princess. From left to right, Blake Mobley, Brianna Crawford, Kashawn Myers, Maleah Proctor,  Tyler McKellar, Madison Williams, Anne-Sophie Hill and Aleezah Adams.

In addition to the royal court announcements, the event featured fun activities for guests to enjoy. There was a 360-degree photo booth and a Polaroid station where students could snap instant photos to take home as souvenirs.

Myers, who serves as the BSU vice president of finance and was crowned sophomore prince, said he was optimistic about the gala’s future. 

“We definitely think that this is an event that can be recurring and could get bigger each year,” Myers said. “It was very exciting, but a little stressful because we didn’t know how many people we would get, but it was exciting to see the turnout.”

The inception of the event stemmed from the vision of Proctor, BSU vice president of Black excellence. Proctor recognized a need for such an event last fall and spearheaded its planning alongside other BSU members.

“Being able to dance and have fun with my friends, after all the hard work and seeing it all pay off and seeing how happy everybody was, that was probably like the icing on the cake,” Proctor said.

BSU, while hosting events for all students, primarily focuses on inclusion for Black students and students of color. Elon sophomore Mikayla Williams emphasized the importance of such initiatives in fostering a sense of community. 

“I think it’s just an awesome opportunity to provide a sense of community on our campus. I get to meet a lot of people that I don’t necessarily interact with in a classroom,” Mikayla Williams said.

Elon freshman Kamari McBride said she is grateful for the community on campus that BSU provides, especially with Elon being a Predominantly White Institution.

“I feel like attending a PWI it’s really important for the Black students and students of color in general to have a sense of community,” McBride said.

“It was just a fun experience to kind of have an opportunity to let loose with my friends just randomly, as well as get to interact with people that I haven’t really seen around on campus as well,” Myers said.

Looking ahead, BSU aims to build upon the success of the inaugural Met Gala, Proctor said.

“We’ve already started making adjustments of what we can do bigger and better next year, and we’re super excited,” Proctor said. “This was the first annual so there was a lot of pressure but seeing how people popped out for this and how people just really rallied and had a great time. We will definitely do it next year.”

Erin Martin | Elon News Network

Elon freshman Asia Minor strikes a pose in the 360 degree photo booth at the first Black Student Union Met Gala on April 13.