Xavier Ball: Launch Reviewed and an Interview with the Director
The Stand’s Claudia Brown sits down with Drew Silverman, Executive Director of the Xavier Ball, for an interview covering everything from Bongo Ball’s name change to the committee’s plans for the future. Claudia also reviews the Xavier Ball’s recent launch event.
S: And these are?
DS: It’s so special for us that we are the only organisation and event that was set up wholly because of the charity. We almost consider ourselves as employees of the Xavier charity. We’re all about the charity!
S: It seems like you have a good cause. Can you tell me more about Xavier charity?
DS: The charity was founded in 2008 by a 3rd year St Andrews student. He travelled to Kampala in Uganda and was so impacted by what he saw that he set up the Xavier charity. The charity offers support to urban refugees in Uganda and Kenya so that they can take positive steps towards leading a fulfilled and dignified existence in their community.
S: The Xavier Ball Launch took place at the Vic this Wednesday. How did it go for you?
DS: It was so fun! The committee are really happy with how the event went: We raised £200 by doing nothing other than party with our friends to some great music.
S: And do you have any other surprises lined up for us?
DS: Of course! We think of ourselves as a social enterprise committee meaning we have several fund-raising components. This year we will have a Rafiki [meaning friend in Swahili] Fabric Sale as well as awareness talks closer to the Ball.
S: That’s great! Of course, the main event is the Xavier Ball. What can we expect in comparison to the Xavier Project’s Bongo Ball last year?
DS: Expect everything to be bigger and brighter! The Ball will be held in the abandoned Crail Airfield and is a great excuse to get down and dirty with your friends for the night. Front of house will be more vibrant; revitalised! There may be thousands of glowsticks flying about…who knows haha! and maybe some glow in the dark things. The bonfire will be twice as big as usual and we want to see some hot outfits to match! We want neon and funky fabrics. We want the girls in their brightest dresses. It should be a really fun night and for a great cause- which makes people feel good whilst they party.
S: That sounds sycadelically amazing, you don’t get much better than that in St Andrews!
DS: Actually, you do! Because with you’re ticket you get two free drinks at the bar (which is already so so cheap). Everyone who comes to the Ball is guaranteed a fantastic night whist benefitting the Xavier Project those refugees who need us most.
In 2008, Edmund Page visited Kampala as a volunteer. As a result of the horrifying conditions experienced by refugees in the city, he felt compelled to make a change. And thus the Xavier Project came into being. (NB: At this point it I think it should be noted that Edmund has since been recognised with an Award of Service by the Queen.) Each year, students from the University of St Andrews organise a series of events in order to raise money for this cause. This year: Xavier Ball!
On Wednesday I went to the Xavier Ball Launch party at the Vic with some friends. I’m not sure if it was the restored vibrancy that came hand in hand with Xavier’s new catch phrase, ‘Be Bright’, but I was sure that the lights of the social club were shining with particular panache that night. The banners, though decidedly handmade looking, were fun and strikingly orange. Alongside the banners were thousands of Xavier Ball fliers on the walls, tables, dance floor, bar – pretty much any surface available, adding to the frantic fun of the event.
The dance floor: PACKED. Why? Simple! The DJ was making a herculean effort to impress, and doing a good job at it. From the very start of the night people were up grooving to the alternative funky techno and house remixes. In comparison to your average ‘Vic night out’, the music was heart-thumpingly loud, vamping up the vibes even further.
As the night passed us by, people began to float from the dance floor to bar. Eyes took notice of the special mango cocktail that Xavier was offering. Exceedingly professional and yum in proportion, “the X” was an undoubted success. If only the Vic offered the drink every evening! A few Xs later the crowds swarmed back to the dance floor to end the night on a high note.
One thing is absolutely certain: the Xavier crew know how to throw a good party.
Photos taken by Claudia Brown.