Prom is back on! After cancelations at thousands of high schools across the country due to COVID-19, students can now participate virtually by registering for Virtual Prom Live. This will allow students to still have a prom while practicing appropriate social distancing.
The new nationwide effort is led by Taylor Buckley, a founder in the new Master of Business Creation program at the University of Utah’s David Eccles School of Business. She is teaming up with teen dress rental company Charlotte’s Closet to organize the regional virtual proms.
Buckley is the cofounder of My School Dance, an app that allows high schools to easily manage dance events. But as she saw dances across the country being canceled due to COVID-19, she quickly decided to switch gears and do something about it.
“I wanted to do something to give high school students an opportunity to participate in one of the most important events of the year,” Buckley said. “Just because students can’t gather together in person doesn’t mean we need to cancel the party. We invite students everywhere in the country to join us online. This is your opportunity to end the year with a celebration.”
Buckley’s pivot from supporting live events to a virtual prom is a great example of how startups are adapting to the coronavirus and making the best of the situation.
“What makes a great entrepreneur and startup is the ability to adapt as your circumstances change,” said Troy D’Ambrosio, executive director of the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute at the University of Utah, which supports the Master of Business Creation program. “The coronavirus is creating a lot of challenges, but it is also creating a lot of new opportunities if you’re willing to see and pursue them.”
Students attending Virtual Prom Live are encouraged to put on their best dress or tux, do their hair, and get ready to enjoy contests and music from some of the best DJs in their region. Charlotte’s Closet will even provide prom dresses to teens in need, free of charge.
With partners and sponsors including No Kid Hungry, Charlotte’s Closet, Run the World, Cinch, notable DJs from around the country, and many more to come, Virtual Prom Live is hosting four regional prom events for all high school students in the country. The events will be held on Saturdays at 7 p.m. starting April 18.
Students can register now online for free to attend the prom in their time zone. The first event will be April 18 for Mountain Daylight Time, followed by proms on April 25 (CDT), May 2 (PDT) and May 9 (EDT).
DJ Joune, the official DJ of the Utah Jazz, will host the Mountain Daily Time event. Buckley is still in discussions with other DJs to host the other proms. Watch the Virtual Prom Live website for updates and announcements.
While the event is free to attend, participants are encouraged to donate to No Kid Hungry, an organization working to provide meals to students left without food due to school closures.
“This is a win-win for students everywhere,” Buckley said. “They get to gather with their friends for an experience of a lifetime, while also supporting a charity to help hungry students. Join us from your living room or bedroom, and don’t forget the dress you’ve been saving all year to show off.”
Learn more on the Virtual Prom Live website at virtualprom.live.