QuestBridge hosts Light-Hearted Ball to promote inclusion

Light-Hearted Ball celebrates Valentine’s Day and conclusion of Mock Convention

Alexandra Cline

After an eventful Mock Convention weekend filled with politicians and party predictions, the Washington and Lee QuestBridge scholars hosted a more “light-hearted” event to wrap up the festivities.

Decorated with candles, lights and hearts, Evans Dining Hall was transformed into a Valentine’s Day-themed venue for the Light-Hearted Ball on Feb. 13.

The event was sponsored by W&L’s QuestBridge scholars, a national program that provides financial assistance to low income, high-achieving students.

“The goal is really to promote Questbridge and to get more people on campus to know about it,” said Nika Pogrebna, ‘17, who serves as W&L’s liaison with the broader organization. “The goal was to make a presence like other organizations and to have our scholars recognized.”

For Pogrebna, this outreach entails monthly events open to the entire W&L community that promote the program and simply allow students to meet new people.

“The goal is to really make a presence here with events for everyone,” Pogrebna said. “This month we thought it would be a great way to hang out after Mock Con and have some fun.”

At the ball, students were treated to live music, catered food and a photo booth, all while enjoying time to chat and dance with friends.

“I really enjoyed the specialty drinks and music,” Samantha Yates, ‘19, said. “Some of the songs brought back great memories, and now I can make new memories with different friends.”

For others, the evening served as an end to the weekend’s Mock Con sessions and provided a break from the political speeches that began days prior.

“After two days of discussing serious issues with politicians, it was a nice change of pace to enjoy a carefree evening,” Kirsten McMichael, ‘19, said. “It was really exciting to see different people come together who wouldn’t normally know each other.”

Though the Light-Hearted Ball was the first of its kind for QuestBridge, the program has been staging events throughout the academic year that range from a cookout on Canaan Green to an apple-picking trip.

These events are funded through W&L’s Executive Committee and the national organization and are largely open to all university students and will continue throughout the year.

“We’ve done a home-cooked meal on Thanksgiving, hayrides, and a bunch of other events so far,” Pogrebna said. “They’re fun activities, and it promotes the QuestBridge program at the school.”

W&L’s Questbridge program, which now includes a hundred students, hopes to expand to include a broader range of students and become a more recognized group on campus.

“The program is growing and expanding this year,” Pogrebna said. “We’re trying to make members more active, and I personally wanted to give back to the organization that provides great opportunities for students across the country.”