Vertigo returns to McKelvey Engineering

EnCouncil brought the popular dance party back to campus after being cancelled for three years due to COVID-19

Danielle Lacey 
It took 20 hours for EnCouncil members to set up and decorate the Lopata Gallery for Vertigo.
It took 20 hours for EnCouncil members to set up and decorate the Lopata Gallery for Vertigo.
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After a three-year hiatus, Vertigo is back.

EnCouncil, the undergraduate student government for the McKelvey School of Engineering at Washington University in St. Louis, hosted nearly 1,000 students at the annual dance party Nov. 19.

The event, themed “Fairy Tale,” offered students a chance to relax with music, food and drink before finals. It also marked the return of a wireless computer-controlled dance floor designed and installed in the Lopata Gallery by members of the WashU chapter of IEEE.

“When I became Vertigo chair, I was aware of the workload and time commitment, but didn’t expect to grow as attached to the event and the planning process as I did,” said Kayleigh Crow, a junior majoring in systems science & engineering and committee chair. “I fully immersed myself in it, and it became a passion project for me.”

Planning an event that large is a lot of work for any organization, but this year’s Vertigo committee faced the unique challenge of bringing back a popular tradition that many of its members never had the opportunity to attend. Not only did they not know what Vertigo was, neither did many of the students they were advertising to.

“Although we had been circulating beautiful flyers designed by Shua Jeon, our publicity subchair, most first-years, sophomores and juniors didn’t fully understand what Vertigo was,” Crow said. “We had to adjust the messaging a bit and get more aggressive when it came to publicity.”

Committee members worked with staff in Undergraduate Student Services and relied on documentation completed by previous Vertigo chairs. Even with this support, the team had new challenges, including new university event policies that had been put in place since the start of the pandemic.

“One significant policy change is that alcohol is no longer allowed to be distributed for free at events or purchased with Student Union or club money, so we had to work with our vendor to sell on a per-drink basis,” Crow said. “We didn't know about this change until a few weeks ago, so it's fortunate that this problem was resolved in time.”

Crow said enjoyed her first-ever Vertigo and she’s grateful for all who helped make it work, including Student Union, Campus Life, Undergraduate Student Services and EnCouncil members.

“My first two years at WashU had normalized a minimal level of campus involvement, even though I made sure to take part in many student groups,” Crow said. “Chairing Vertigo pulled me into the community in a way I wish I could have experienced as a first year. I feel closer to my fellow EnCouncil members and the WashU Engineering community, and I’m immensely honored to contribute to this beloved tradition.”


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