By Phoebe Carter
Philander’s Phebruary Phling is a thing of the past, living on only in Kenyon lore. This February, however, will see the first of what the Senior Class Council hopes to be a new tradition: Philander’s Ball. Occuring in Tomsich Basketball Arena in the Kenyon Athletic Center on Feb. 15 and open to all Kenyon students, faculty and staff, Philander’s Ball will be a non-alcoholic event and will feature student band Motown, along with a DJ or two.
Senior Class Council members Casey Griffin ’14, Lucy Phillips ’14 and Emma Strickler ’14, who worked on the proposal for Philander’s Ball, wanted to provide what they saw as a much-needed opportunity for the community to come together. “We put so much on Kenyon as this community, but there are so few spaces that we can actually gather and enjoy ourselves together,” Strickler said. With a $3,600 budget from Phebruary Phunds, the Council is one of six groups selected from 17 who applied for funds.
Pheb Phunds, which were instituted after the end of Phling in 2011, is a $10,000 endowment open to any student organization wishing to host a February event. A committee of staff and student representatives reviews applications and selects what they believe will be a diverse offering of events for the campus.
For seniors on campus in 2011 for the last Philander’s Phling, an annual night of dancing with a 16-year tradition, there has been a tendency to think of the Ball as the “new Phling.” While the Council is hoping the Ball will fill the place of Phling as an all-campus winter event, they are not trying to replicate it.
“We’re definitely trying to separate it from Phling, in that Phling became sort of a task for the student body,” Griffin said. Rather than the Ball being a burden that falls on the Student Council to carry — which is one of the reasons why the event collapsed — they are seeking the support of other student organizations.
“We’ve had a really great response from student groups that were excited to help, and really diverse groups, too,” Phillips said of the groups involved, which includes sport teams, Greek organizations and drama groups. Unlike Phling, the Ball is open to the entire community. “At Phling, professors were never invited, so I think this will be a much more inclusive event,” Phillips said. They were inspired by the sense of community fostered by the inaugural gala held this October in honor of President Sean Decatur.
“I think we, as representatives of the Senior Class Council and the last class who experienced Phling, are really excited to be able to leave this as a tradition that every class can carry,” Griffin said. They hope to involve representatives from each class to continue the tradition in coming years.
The Ball’s $3,600 budget is much smaller than that of Phling or the inaugural gala. But by holding the event in the KAC, free of charge, the Ball requires fewer Campus Safety officers than events at Peirce and does not rely on AVI to cater. Most of the budget will go towards providing snacks, music and a shuttle between campus and the KAC.
The rest of the Phunds will go to five other events. The Sophomore Class Council will show Casablanca in the Gund Gallery on Feb. 1 and the Craft Center will host an afternoon of “adult crafts” on Feb. 8. That night is Alt. Prom, hosted by Unity House, the Queer Men’s Society, the Queer Women’s Collective, the Crozier Center for Women, Athletes for Equality, the Black Student Union and WKCO.
The Asian studies program will celebrate Chinese New Year on Feb. 15 with a lantern festival. Zeta Alpha Pi will host a casino night on Feb. 22, making them the only group to be approved for Phunds in two consecutive years.