The 10 Alternative Places That AU Could Have Held Founder's Day Ball This Year

It is finally that time of year. It's time to get ready for American University’s highly anticipated night of glamour, dancing, and elegance as the university celebrates its 125th anniversary. On Monday, January 22, student government announced that it will be holding its annual Founder’s Day Ball on March 3rd, at the National Museum of African-American History and Culture (NMAAHC).

For those of you who are wondering, this choice of venue is particularly odd considering that AU is a predominantly white institution that has recently been receiving media attention regarding its racial tension. It seems that the University has forgotten the fact that students of color are made victim to targeted attacks to their racial and ethnic identities every semester, from nooses and bananas hung around campus to confederate flag posters seen in multiple buildings on the grounds.

The NMAAHC was created to be a place where people of color can come to celebrate their identity, reflect on their past, and look to a brighter future.The decision to hold the Founder’s Day Ball at this venue only serves to reveal the University’s cultural insensitivity in planning a party in a place where individuals come to grieve their history and connect with their culture. The ball is supposed to be a fun and great experience for everyone, but now students of color will be forced to be on guard, defending their history against the prejudiced and ignorant.

With that in mind, here are ten better places that AU could have held this year’s Founder’s Day Ball:

  1. The Newseum: Last year’s venue, this museum is founded on the promotion of freedom of expression as well as telling the stories of people from every background. AU students will be able to dance their way once again through history with the pleasure of nice view.  

2. International Spy Museum: Everybody has wanted to be a spy at one point in their lives, right? Here, you can enjoy a night of mystery and fun while expanding your perspective on global espionage. 


3. Hirshhorn Art Museum: With show-stopping exhibits like this past one, students can step into a world of beautiful artwork near to the National Mall, perfect for that much-needed Founder’s Day selfie.  

4. National Portrait Gallery of Art: Founded in 1962, get a snapshot into history as you glide through timeless portraits of historical figures from Sissieretta Jones to Alexander Hamilton.  

5. Dumbarton Oaks: Located in Georgetown, this mansion boasts of an iconic landscape that will enrapture you in the beauty of nature perfect for the glamour of Founder’s Day Ball. 

6. Heurich House Museum: Feel like royalty in the former 31-room 19th-century mansion/castle of German philanthropist Christian Heurich located in DuPont Circle.   

7. Renwick Art Gallery: Celebrate the world of the 19th and 21st-century American decorative arts in this museum where everyone can enjoy these jaw-dropping exhibits.  

8. The Air and Space Museum: Whether you are a space nerd or just like to gaze at the stars, this Smithsonian museum has something for everybody and would be the perfect venue for this year’s Founder’s Day Ball.

9. National Building Museum: Located just a short distance away on F street, feel at the epitome of elegance at this venue that displays some of the most iconic architectural design.

10. National Museum of Women in the Arts: What better occasion to celebrate the year of the woman than in the only museum in the world dedicated to celebrating the accomplishments of women in the arts. Students can visit the “Fierce Women” exhibit and others like it to marvel in the brilliance and excellence of women worldwide.

So maybe AU can keep these in mind when planning the next Founder’s Day Ball, but if all else fails, remember Bender Arena is always available.


Photo Credits: Cover, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10