It’s no secret how lonely LSE can be. The Beaver has reported time and time again how mental health is a serious and insufficiently addressed problem on campus. It is because of this that I applaud anyone who tries to find ways to fix it. But the answer to our problems isn’t a Summer Ball.
Being an end of year event, it does little to ease the loneliness felt throughout the year; it does little to remedy the lack of a community spanning outside of LSELove; and it does little to tackle the cut-throat, career-focused culture that consumes our campus. If it’s just a room full of rich kids strutting in their designer suits and gowns for the sake of a few pics for Instagram, count me out. Change is going to need to be more substantial than that.
That being said, if all goes well, you’ll probably see me there. The plan for a Summer Ball isn’t a bad one. I like the occasional odd reason to get dressed up and drunk. However, with such a stir that this has caused on campus – from the massively popular petition to being a core policy proposal in the elections for GenSec last year – the idea seems to be that a Summer Ball would be akin to divine intervention: the key to uplifting our dismal student satisfaction ratings.
The LSE community can’t see one single event as the answer to our prayers. Many see LSE as a factory for creating cookie-cutter individuals for the City, forcing the pressure of internships and spring weeks down our necks. Because of this, it can be a cold environment in which to spend your early twenties, with insufficient care for students’ wellbeing and a lack of community feel. For me, I found my community at The Beaver, and others have found their haven elsewhere. But why are we pretending that this one event will be to everyone’s taste and that it will become one huge unifying moment for us all?
The road to implementing an LSE Summer Ball has been long fought and with good intentions. I am glad to see it finally being put in place. However, we can’t look at this one event and think that our problems will be fixed forever. LSE’s problems are more deeply entrenched than that.