Next Tuesday, the last day of classes, Foss Hill will be the site of the revival of a University tradition last practiced over half a century ago—field day. Students will be able to participate in a host of class competitions, which will include tug-of-war, human pyramids and a scavenger hunt. Winners of events will earn points for their class and the class with the most points will be awarded the Bronze Key, a trophy last awarded to the class of 1942 for field day excellence.
The festivities, which will start at 3 p.m., are being organized by the Cardinal Council, a new student-run organization. The group aims to strengthen the campus community and alumni-University relations.
“There are tremendous student groups and student activities but it is all sort of disaggregated and separated,” Council member Jeff Bizinkauskas ’10 said. “Wesleyan is great, everyone can come here and find a niche but at the same time, there isn’t much interaction between the niches.”
The Council is an offshoot of University-conducted student focus groups by the last semester designed to gauge students’ understanding of the importance of alumni contributions. The Council hopes that by building school spirit and bringing undergraduates together now, students will be more likely to maintain their ties with the University long after they graduate.
“If we build class solidarity now, when students graduate, it’ll be easier to get alumni support,” Bizinkauskas said. “The relationship you have with the University shouldn’t end upon graduation.”
The group also seeks to bring students and alumni together. Currently, the only way students can connect with alumni is through the Career Resource Center, where alumni can post job and internship opportunities. The Council will serve as a bridge between students and University Relations, which is responsible for alumni relations.
“Right now the alumni are not really connected to what students are doing on campus,” said Anand Satchidanandan’08, assistant director of the Wesleyan Fund. “The students don’t really know what’s going on with alumni either.”
The Council hopes to make it easier for students to connect with alumni and vise versa. The Council organizes events, such as concerts, talks and performances. Any student can submit ideas and proposals to the council about what good alumni to bring on campus. Alternatively, alumni who want to visit the campus or connect with students can also go to the Council.
“These connections are already happening informally, especially with young alums who tend to come back to events like senior theses and to do shows,” Satchidanandan said. “What we want to do is strengthen that by saying, ‘Here’s a student group that you can talk to to set something up.’”
On field day, however, the focus is to promote class unity among current undergraduates. Some other ideas floating around include pig roasts and flash parties.
The Cardinal Council hopes that, by strengthening the community on campus, they will strengthen student-alumni relations in the future.
“If you want alumni to come back and post jobs, post internships, and to talk to the student body, and to teach, you have to make them feel like they are coming back to a special place that they value, and that is something we are trying to improve at,” Satchidanandan said.