On Friday, love was in the air for Chen Qinlei and Su Baiwen as they strolled into the East Lansing Marriott at University Place for the International Students Association’s, or ISA, annual Valentine’s Ball.
Coming from China, the two met each other at this year’s freshman orientation, kept in touch and began dating.
“We decided to come to the dance because we have been with each other for a long time and we wanted to do something special for Valentine’s Day,” said Su, an economics freshman, as he beamed at Chen, a finance freshman.
With a 15-foot Eiffel Tower, crystal chandeliers and red chiffon draping from the ceiling, the theme, “A Night in Paris,” helped create an elegant atmosphere.
ISA President Kubatbek Alimbekov helped plan the event with the rest of the ISA executive board members.
Alimbekov said it is one of ISA’s biggest traditions because it welcomes everyone on campus. He sees it as another way to bridge the gap between international and domestic students.
“Whether you are international, from Michigan or wherever, it doesn’t make a difference because we all can come together and have a good time,” Alimbekov said.
“Since Valentine’s Day is all about love and is celebrated all around the world, this dance can apply to every person.”
Besides the themed decorations, food and drinks, live dance performances were put on for the guests.
Irene Li, member of the MSU Ballroom Dance Club, said performing at these types of events helps educate more students about ballroom dancing.
“This year we talked to ISA about performing, and they had an open spot for us,” Li said.
The dance was not only for couples, but for singles as well.
Hospitality business sophomore Liang Yujie, from China, dressed in her best and hit the town with her friends before coming to the dance.
“It took me three hours to get ready,” Liang said, wearing a one-shoulder, black and cranberry dress.
“I came here with my friends because I wanted to see what the dance was going to be like and just meet new people.”
Alimbekov said the dance was a great opportunity to show ISA’s goal as an organization.
“This is a way for us to bring people together and show that love has no boundaries,” Alimbekov said.