By David McCabe
Members of the Class of 2014 were the last students to experience Philander’s Phebruary Phling, the Kenyon-funded night of dancing and, occasionally, mock-gambling held in Peirce.
They might also be the ones to bring it back.
Well, sort of. After a successful and popular gala in honor of President Sean Decatur’s inauguration, Senior Class Council has submitted a proposal to receive Phebruary Phunds for an all-campus formal that would take place at the Kenyon Athletic Center (KAC) ﾗ and could be the most ambitious all-campus event since the demise of Phling and the creation of the Phunds program.
Three members of the Council, Casey Griffin ’14, Emma Strickler ’14 and Lucy Phillips ’14, put together the plan over the last few weeks. Phillips said they were inspired by the success of Decatur’s inaugural ball, which turned Peirce Hall into a raucous party complete with Beatles cover band, dim lighting and open bar, and by the nostalgia that seniors have for Phling.
“We’ve been talking about this for a while, as I think a lot of the seniors are, since we were the last class to have Phling,” Phillips said.
The plan came together quickly. The Council applied for funding for limited refreshments and other party necessities, in addition to shuttles that would make it less treacherous for students braving the cold winter weather in semi-formal wear. Officials at the Kenyon Athletic Center (KAC) have said the Council could use Tomsich Arena free of charge, and Campus Safety has been working with the group to help them figure out the logistics of using the space.
They also have a name: Philander’s Phebruary Phormal.
Still, Phillips cautioned that this party was not meant to be a resurrection of Phling ﾗ an event infamous for students overindulging, often resulting in hospital runs or difficulties for students returning to their residence halls and apartments.
“The challenges were all the preloading alcohol before everybody got to Phling, and the resulting amount of alcohol poisoning that we had to respond to, the damage in Peirce, and then just making sure everybody got back to their rooms safely. Those were our biggest challenges,” Campus Safety Director Bob Hooper said. In addition, every Safety officer was on duty on the Saturday nights Phling took place.
“We’re not trying to bring back Phling, per se, because Phling obviously had a lot of serious problems [associated] with it,” Phillips said.
“What we are trying to do is reinstate an event that is open to the whole entire campus, that is very inclusive. Mainly what we’re doing is trying to create a space for that to happen, so that’s why we really want to use the KAC, because we feel that having a change of venue will distance it a little bit from being Phling.”
The Phebruary Phunds program was created after administrators canceled Phling in 2011 ﾗ citing an inability to find students interested in helping run the event.
Through the program, $10,000 in funds are granted yearly to student groups who propose non-alcoholic, all-campus events for the month of February. Past recipients have included the Horn Gallery, which has hosted a Valentine’s Day formal for the last two years, and members of the Greek community.
But so far, those events have failed to develop the cultural permanence or mass-appeal of Phling. Phillips said the Council hopes to change that with their proposal, selecting a location that can reasonably accommodate Phling-like crowds.
“Using the KAC means we can fit the entire school, as opposed to many of the other, while amazing, events that have happened using Phebruary Phunds,” she said. “A lot of them have been in the Horn or in Old Kenyon, places where not only is it a self-selecting group of people who will attend these events, there’s no way we can fit that many people.”
To tackle the staffing problems that felled Phling, the Council is partnering with several students groups that will assist in the planning process and whose members will likely work on the day of the event, Phillips said, including sports teams and other student organizations.
On Monday, the group will present to the committee that distributes the Phebruary Phunds resources, and will likely learn of their plan’s fate shortly thereafter. If they receive funding, they will work with an advisor to manage the money and plan the event.
And they probably won’t have to look far for suggestions.
When Campus Safety officials met with the Senior Class Council representatives, they had one of their own: perhaps, they suggested, the Council could book Revolution Pie, the Beatles cover band that played at Decatur’s gala.
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