By Mary Sinanidis
The National Union of Greek Australian Students (NUGAS) has around 3,000 members. Almost a third of them attended the NUGAS Gala Ball at Albert Park’s Pullman on Friday.
They danced like it was 1973, the year NUGAS was founded by a group of Greek-Australian students at the University of Melbourne. And since then, the baton has been passed from generation to generation; from the first president to current Presidents Billy Battista and Marissa Robotis.
In a joint message the two presidents celebrated the Ball’s “incredible success”.
“As the proud and enduring NUGAS Victoria organisation, with over 50 years of history, we once again proved our commitment to preserving Greek culture and fostering a vibrant community that is stronger than ever,” they told the Greek Herald, adding that the Ball was a precursor to more alumni events to come next year.
“We cherished the best elements of our past NUGAS Balls while adding a touch of surprise to keep our guests excited throughout the evening,” they said.
The event was a celebration of Greek culture and heritage, and featured traditional Greek dancing, music, and food. Guests also enjoyed a three-course meal and drinks throughout the night.
MC George Ross kept the spirits soaring, while Con and Thomas Nicolopoulos provided entertainment as the dance floor pulsated to the tunes of modern Greek music. From zeimbekiko and tsiftetelia to traditional line dances.
NUGAS Secretary Jenna Pletsias said, “The dance floor was flooding with people, the drinks were pouring and the atmosphere was electric!”
Karly Georgantis said the entertainment was “insanely good”, while Christina Savopoulos said she enjoyed the “Greek dancing, meeting new people and enjoying the celebration of Greek culture.”
Elizabeth Kanterakis said she “loved every minute of it”, while Eleni Lykopantis said it was “massive and one of the best” she had attended. Not wanting to stop, they moved to the exclusive afterparty at Ms Collins and kept on dancing until the early hours of the morning.
Alek Paris said, “It was rewarding to see the Committee’s efforts come to fruition, and it was equally, if not more rewarding to see such a huge turnout and everyone enjoying themselves.”
Probably one of the biggest balls in the group’s 50-year history, the students proved that the glory days are not a thing of the past as they pulled together a list of sponsors bigger than ever.
From their big supporter PRONIA whose events and programs the group also attend and volunteer at to other major sponsors like Next Generation Events, Village AV, Directed Group, KORRES and the Bank of Sydney. And the list continued with sponsors Moray and Agnew, Kabinetz, Red Bull, Amethyst Wedding and Events and Thematikos, proving that NUGAS has many friends.
Billy told the Greek Herald sponsors didn’t fall from the sky but came through hard work, word of mouth and building connections. “Our committee is well-connected and we liaise with community groups, and reached out to them,” he said.
NUGAS Treasurer Chris Giannaros hailed the group’s team spirit. “This year’s committee displayed immense discipline when it comes to organising the Gala Ball. Tough decisions were deliberated and discussed in a mature manner which were demonstrated on the night.”
It was a taste to come for more events as this year’s NUGAS crop aims to prove that NUGAS may be an organisation as old as their parents in age, but lacking nothing when it comes to vision, ideals and boldness of youth. Indeed, this 50-year institution has plenty to look forward to.