Barnard Observatory has housed Confederate soldiers, sorority sisters and even a chancellor over the years. This Friday night, it will host the UM Pride Network.
The UM Pride Network will throw its third annual formal from 9 p.m. to midnight in the Observatory’s Tupelo Room.
The free event’s theme is “Out of The Closet, Out of This World.” Attendees are encouraged to show up in their best intergalactic inspired outfits.
“It’s going to be your favorite astronauts, your favorite aliens, milky-ways, whatever you want to be,” Spencer Pleasants, president of the UM Pride Network, said. “The sparklier, the better. The more silver or metallics, the better. Whatever fantasy suits you, do it and come on and party.”
The planning committee created a playlist featuring a sound it describes as “David Bowie meets Lady Gaga meets Star Wars.”
“We’ve been working on a collaborative playlist of out-of-this-world tunes,” Pleasants said. “There’s going to be a brigade of fabulous dance floor tunes that you can get your space booty down to.”
But dancing is not the only draw to the formal. Some students are simply excited to have a safe space to meet new people. In the past, the formal was targeted toward members of the undergraduate LGBTQ+ community, but this year organizers are actively promoting the event to a much broader audience.
“I’m just looking forward to going there and relaxing for a night,” sophomore accounting major Skyler Knapp said.
Knapp said he hopes some new faces will be at this year’s event.
“We need something like this because with the LGBTQ+ community and the environment we live in at Ole Miss where the Greek community is so prevalent,” junior biology major and UM Pride Network member Sam Palmer said. “It is not known for being particularly accepting of queer people, so I think that having a formal that kind of mirrors the fun things Greek people do gives the queer students a chance to kick back and enjoy that experience they might wouldn’t be able to have otherwise.”
Though similar events already exist, like Everybody’s Formal hosted by the Associated Student Body, Palmer said he thinks the Ole Miss community will benefit from something that embraces this group of people who are normally polarized.
“It is different when you cater something to a specific community,” Palmer said. “People think that ‘This is an event for me’ … So maybe it’s not such a bad thing to be queer.”
Pleasants said he wants this formal to not only give people a place to cut loose in a safe space but also get them excited for the upcoming pride weekend.
“Our hope is that this formal gets people in gear as a precursor to L.O.U. Pride coming up the first week on May,” Pleasants said. “I’m looking forward to just dancing the night away and hopefully dancing the night into the stars.”
This article was submitted to The Daily Mississippian from an advanced reporting class.