Section: Features

Informal spirit week livens campus with wardrobe creativity

Informal spirit week livens campus with wardrobe creativity


Last week, students likely noticed some eye-catching outfits around campus. This semester, three first years conducted a social experiment and got creative with their wardrobes by voluntarily planning, advertising and participating in a spirit week April 10-14.

With the end of the semester in sight, Paloma Fernandez ’26, Isaac Turnley ’26 and Zoey Rockoff ’26 sensed that Kenyon students were stressed about finals and in need of a morale boost. They thought that a spirit week would break up the everyday monotony and provide a chance for students to be creative with their wardrobes. Each day had a theme for participating students to dress according to. Themes included “mathlete vs. athlete,” “beach vs. mountain” and “fruity vs. fruit.”

In addition to creating a social activity for the student body, spirit week was amusing to its creators. “[It was] a social experiment of how much people listen to a poster,” Fernandez said. While the three knew that their friends would participate, they were curious to see if other students would catch on. The group did not advertise with an all-student email — instead, they relied on an abundance of creative flyers hanging in Peirce Dining Hall and Chalmers Library, along with an Instagram page, to spread the word. Indeed, their advertising efforts were successful, as other students took part in the week of unconventional yet amusing themes. 

The flyers themselves were entertaining; they included photos of Michael Cera and Tina Fey to grab students’ attention, and some featured warnings such as “Breaking News: Mafia kills whoever doesn’t dress up for spirit week.” The group said that the five-day event provided a challenge for them, as they only worked with the items in their closet, as well as an opportunity to step outside of their comfort zones. Fernandez even changed from her mathlete costume to an athletic one midday to demonstrate that there was no right or wrong choice; it was about having fun. Impressively, none of them bought anything for the week, despite the diverse themes and midday costume changes. Fernandez described the process as “recycling your wardrobe,” or styling your clothing in a new way. The spirit week also offered participants the benefit of confidence. Rockoff elaborated: “I was having fun with styling my clothes, and I actually enjoyed what I was wearing. Like, I actually felt cute.” 

As orchestrators of the week, the three of them put thought into their outfits each day. “I chose my outfits the day before,” Rockoff said. Participants in the spirit week paid close attention to detail with their outfits while managing to make economical and resourceful choices. Turnley switched his backpack one day to match the mountain theme, while Fernandez wore old prescription glasses (which gave her a headache) for her interpretation of a mathlete outfit. The three also personalized items in their closets. Inspired by a specific episode from Jersey Shore, Turnley wrote “I <3 The Situation” and drew abs on his shirt to pair with oversized bejeweled sunglasses. 

The trio set up an Instagram page to celebrate their favorite looks from the week and to encourage participation. The group said that they intentionally left a date out of their Instagram bio because they plan to organize a spirit week again. “Throughout the week, we thought of many other possible themes,” Rockoff said. “When we feel Kenyon getting low, we’ll cheer them up again with a little spirit week,” Fernandez added. Rockoff encouraged students to “Keep the spirit alive, don’t let this week end.” Whatever participants gleaned from the spirit week, either a new appreciation for a clothing piece, a sense of confidence or a laugh from the comical flyers, the group hoped that the week lifted students’ spirits during this stressful point in the semester.


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