Celebrating Unity and Diversity: The Ebony Ball Under a “Starry Night”

Feb 20, 2024

William Peace University’s vibrant campus came alive on Friday, February 16, as the Black Student Union (BSU) hosted the much-anticipated Ebony Ball. 

This annual event, now in its third year, has become a cornerstone in fostering unity, celebrating diversity, and creating a sense of community among WPU students during Black History Month.

Inclusivity at the Heart of Ebony Ball

Sophomore TJ Hill-Johnson, president of the BSU, highlighted the student organization’s commitment to inclusivity, making it a focal point of the annual Ebony Ball. 

“The BSU actively makes an effort to show the excellence and inclusion of the Black community at WPU. One of, if not the biggest, exemplifications of our efforts is the Ebony Ball,” says Hill-Johnson.

“When planning Ebony Ball, one of the very first things we do is ensure that there aren’t unnecessary parameters around who can and can’t attend. The last thing we want to do is be divisive, so to avoid that, we invite everyone within the WPU community and neighboring universities,” they explained. 

This intentional approach ensures that the Ebony Ball remains an inclusive and representative event for all members of the campus community.

The Essence and Evolution of Ebony Ball

“The first Ebony Ball started in 2019 as an opportunity to provide a space where Black students were able to be their authentic selves and celebrate Blackness and unity,” said Anthony Holloman, BSU Advisor.

Since then, the event has evolved into one of the largest student-attended gatherings at WPU, with a growing number of non-Black students participating each year.

Each year the Ebony Ball follows a theme, and this year’s “Starry Night” theme, inspired by Vincent Van Gogh’s iconic painting, added a touch of elegance to the dazzling event held in the Main Parlor on campus. 

The event’s free admission encourages widespread participation, emphasizing the BSU’s commitment to making the Ebony Ball accessible to all.

More Than a Party: A Celebration of Black Excellence

As the vibrant lights and lively music of Ebony Ball fill the air, it becomes more than just a night of celebration—it aims to showcase the excellence and inclusion of the Black community at WPU

“The event highlights the importance and impact that Black students have at WPU and how important it is that Black students have spaces where they can unite and create a sense of community,” Holloman said. 

It’s not merely a party but a deliberate effort to create an environment where students can be themselves, fostering “fellowship and fun with the hope that their positive experience at Ebony will influence them to become more involved with the organization and help create change on campus,” Holloman said.

Sophomore Elisha Thomas, BSU Communications and Marketing Coordinator echoes this sentiment, underlining the essence of Ebony Ball as a celebration for all students. 

“This is really a celebration. We come together, we have fun. We party. This is just an overall party invited to all students on campus for the fun and blessing of the Black community,” Thomas said. 

The Ebony Ball serves as both entertainment and education, showcasing the ongoing success of BSU and laying the foundation for future achievements. 

“BSU utilizes Ebony Ball as not only a form of entertainment but also a form of education that shows how truly successful BSU is and how successful BSU will be down the line,” Hill-Johnson said. 

In this way, the event embodies the multifaceted mission of the BSU, blending celebration, education, and community-building into a night that resonates far beyond the dance floor.

A Campus-Wide Invitation

“The Ebony Ball is for everyone on campus. It’s not just a Black student thing or people of color thing. Any person can come,” Thomas said in a final call for unity and inclusion. 

As the Ebony Ball continues to evolve and leave its mark on the WPU campus, it shows how student-led initiatives can contribute to building a sense of community, celebrating diversity, and fostering unity. 

“We invite everyone to attend our meetings and events and to learn more about the Black experience at WPU and around the world. The Ebony Ball event showcases this sense of inclusivity the most,” Holloman said.

To learn more about upcoming events hosted by the BSU, visit Pacer Engage and join one of their club meetings.

 

Give Courageously to Peace

Thanks to the generosity of William Peace University supporters, current and future WPU students have access to the resources needed to learn through immersive experiences, build upon their courage and develop the confidence needed to turn passion into purpose.
Roses float in the campus fountain after an alumni event.
a student uses a laptop on a green bench at William Peace University

Give Now

Support future Pacer success. 

 

Become a Corporate Partner

Find out how your organization can collaborate with Peace.

Visitors

Whether you’re hoping to attend WPU or hosting an event, you’re welcome to visit WPU! 

Wedding at WPU
Phantom in downtown Raleigh

Conferences and Events

Host your conference, event, or wedding at WPU.

Location and Directions

Get directions, our address, a campus map, and hotel discount information.

Counselors

Learn about WPU and all it has to offer so you can guide your students to the best fit for their next step. 

Admissions Info

Meet and connect with our Admissions team.

Schedule a Visit

Learn about our processes and schedule a visit.

Alumni

Our success as an institution has always been rooted in the strength of our community. As an integral part of that community, we invite alumni to stay informed and connected. 

Alumni outside at WPU
Roses float in the campus fountain after an alumni event.
Building at WPU

Get Involved

Stay connected to Peace.

Donate

Contribute to the success of future Pacers.

General Info

Read about alumni benefits.

Parents

Families are an integral part of a student’s path to WPU. Find answers to your questions here. 

Commencement
Two WPU students work together on a project during class

Student Success: Why Choose WPU?

Learn about the value of an education at WPU.

Billing and Due Dates

Questions about your student’s enrollment or billing? Start here.

Current Students

Already a Pacer? Here’s your quick path to information, links, and other useful stuff.

Group of students talking
Students high-fiving each other

Current Students

Missing something? Can’t find a link? Start here.

Current Parents and Families

Is your student a Pacer? Here’s where to get information and contacts.

Future Students

Welcome to William Peace University! We offer programs for both traditional undergraduate students and online/hybrid classes through our School of Professional Studies. Find your path to WPU here.

Three WPU students walk through a brick archway on campus.
Three students discuss their work during class.
Older gentleman at a computer

First Time in College

Your WPU education will help you build practical skills for your future.

Transfer Students

Transfer up to 90 credit hours from any institution. 

Working Professionals

Enhance your existing career.

A WPU student works on a video game in the new esports and gaming lab on campus.
Woman in army green typing at computer
Two female international students

Readmission

If you previously attended WPU and are ready to return, start here. 

Veteran/Military

Learn more about how to apply the GI bill.

International Students

Find out how to attend WPU.

About

WPU has a long history as one of the city’s oldest universities. Find out more about our institution in the heart of downtown Raleigh. 

2023 Student Showcase
Staff Pumpkin Painting

History

Through 160 years, William Peace University has evolved to meet the changing needs of the students we serve.

Leadership

William Peace University is a small, private institution located in downtown Raleigh, NC.

Work at WPU

Join our team and see why William Peace University was voted one of the Triangle’s Best Places to Work!

DEI Staff
Design Rendering of WPU

Contact Us

Contact the University

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Learn about DEI at WPU.

Mission, Vision, and Values

Learn about WPU core tenets. 

Student Life

Whether you want to know more about on-campus events or see our residence halls, get a sense of what life is like as a student at WPU.

WPU Student on bouncy slide
A WPU student sits with his friends while eating at Belk dining hall.
WPU Safety Officer

Clubs, Activities and Events

Discover what’s fun at WPU.

Housing & Dining

When people say that WPU “feels like home,” we think that’s the ultimate compliment.

Safety & Security

The Office of Public Safety is committed to providing a community-friendly approach to enhancing campus safety for students, faculty and staff.

Dining room at Peace
A WPU student sits with his friends while eating at Belk dining hall.
Health and wellness at WPU

Athletics

Cheer on your Pacers at their next home game.

Student Support Services

Find out how the WPU team supports the whole you.

Health and Wellness

Learn about physical and mental health services available to students.

Academics

WPU offers a mix of more than 30 degree programs and additional minors. Our courses are four credit hours each, and every course features immersive learning experiences.

A student in WPU's online School of Professional Studies works on her homework.
2023 Internship Showcase

Immersive Learning

Find out about WPU’s unique approach to learning.

Center for Student Success

Peer tutoring, a first-year success program, and an internship program are just part of why Pacers succeed. 

Admissions

Start here to find out how to apply, visit, and learn more about WPU.

Before you apply:

Admissions team
students walking on campus
A student reviews scholarship and payment information in the financial aid office.

Connect with an Admission Couneslor

They’ll be your guide through the process.

Visit Campus

Get a feel for campus life.

Understand Costs

Find out about Financial aid and other options to pay for college.