Students plan on-campus dance for persons with developmental disabilities

Campus News, News, Student Life

A class of students are working together with Franklin County Recreation to throw a formal dance on campus for people with developmental disabilities.

Franklin County Recreation is an organization that strives to provide community-based events and new experiences to adults with developmental disabilities within Franklin County. As part of their typical programming, the organization hosts dances throughout the year, but these events tend to be more casual outings. This is where students stepped in to help.

The event planning course PR-365 has been working hard to create an extravagant event here at Capital for Franklin County Recreation.

“It’s a good opportunity for them to get away from their traditional spaces … they are used to having dances throughout the months, but they aren’t very big [or] formal; it’s more casual,” junior Mary Kleffner, a member of the class’s communications committee, said. “So, by us holding it here, we can make it a big formal event. We can have decorations, we can have catering and it’ll be a nice experience for them.”

Working together, the class came up with a theme that combined “The Great Gatsby” with a masquerade ball, thus creating The Great Masquerade.

Kleffner said the class hopes that the event will feel like “…a black-tie affair, but really shiny and extravagant.”

When asked why the dance was being held on campus, another member of the communications committee, senior Caitlyn Fuentes, said, “It’s mainly so we can integrate the Capital University public with the Franklin County [Recreation] public and merge those two audiences together…”

The current efforts of PR-365 are continuing on a long-standing relationship between Capital and Franklin County Recreation.

“This is actually the fourth year that we’ve partnered with them,” professor Lois Foreman-Wernet, who teaches the class, said. “It’s a group that really appreciates what’s being done for them, and we can learn a lot from them … they have actual real money; it’s an actual real event. …It’s great experience for our students. It’s great also for them to get [in] contact with a public that they’re not used to dealing with necessarily.”

The students have also found that planning this event has been a valuable experience.

“It’s so different to…learn about event management [and] event planning, but it’s something different when you’re put into that situation, because you value that learning experience a little bit more when you’re thrust into it,” Fuentes said.

When asked what made this event so important, Kleffner said, “I think a big portion of the Capital experience is service learning … we are getting the chance to work with members of our community that we don’t often see, and I think that’s what we are going to enjoy the most once we are done with this experience … by us putting on this event, we get to celebrate them and get to have fun with them.”

The dance will be held from 7-9 p.m. on April 14 in the Koinonia Center, which is located on the lower level of the Trinity Lutheran Seminary. Tickets are available for $10. Contact Mary Kleffner at for more information.

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