The most coveted ticket on campus this fall will take students over 1,000 feet in the air for an evening.
Tickets for Fall Formal, held this year on the 99th floor of the Willis Tower, went on sale on Monday morning, and all 375 tickets were sold by 12:30 p.m. the next day, after only five and a half hours of tabling.
“We really think that it has to do with the Willis Tower, and it’s one of the best venues we’ve ever had,” said third-year JK Vervilles, assistant chair of the Council on University Programming (COUP).
According to COUP chair and fourth-year Denver Barrows, another reason for the quick ticket sales was the larger size of the first-year class, since first-years have historically comprised a large portion of Fall Formal attendees.
Last year, when Fall Formal was held at the Crystal Gardens at Navy Pier, tickets sold out in a little over a week. That venue allowed for 25 more tickets than this year’s.
The COUP board was especially surprised at how fast they sold out because tickets went on sale after Blues ’N’ Ribs, COUP’s first event of the year. Because of the quick turnaround they were unable to do much advertising on campus, and relied on online resources, such as a Facebook page, and word of mouth to publicize Fall Formal.
There is no waiting list for the event because the venue has a strict cap of 400 people, Barrows said. Between the 375 tickets already sold and tickets for COUP members and ORCSA supervisors, the venue is filled to capacity.
Barrows emphasized that the COUP board was financially unable to expand to a larger venue this year. “The COUP budget has been cut by $13,000 in the past three years,” he said. “We’re financially constrained [against] expanding.”
Another benefit of Willis Tower, COUP’s ideal venue for this fall anyway, is that it turned out to be cheaper than past venues.
The only way to get a ticket now is to buy one from a person who has already purchased one. Many people have posted on the Fall Formal Facebook page and UChicago Marketplace asking for tickets to purchase or selling tickets already bought.
First-year Rex Johnson placed an ad on Marketplace on Wednesday offering one ticket for $250 or a pair tickets for $400. While he says that the highest offer he’s received in response to his ad is $100 for both tickets, he plans to keep his ad up “until we get a good offer.”