Section: News

Fandango shines light on seniors, concludes with a crash

Fandango shines light on seniors, concludes with a crash

Seniors and faculty celebrated 100 days until commencement with food, drinks and live music. | COURTESY OF SIMONE MARTEL

On Friday, the senior class and various professors — all dressed to the nines — gathered in the Gund Commons Ballroom for the annual celebration of Fandango, the event marking 100 days to graduation. The event served as an opportunity for seniors to reminisce on their time at Kenyon, and to drink and dine with the professors they have known for four years. At the event, Senior Class President Rachel Chen ’24 announced this year’s Baccalaureate and Commencement Speakers: Professor of Chemistry James Keller will speak at this year’s Baccalaureate ceremony, while the Most Rev. Michael Curry, presiding bishop and primate of the Episcopal Church, will speak at the College’s 196th annual Commencement. 

Approximately 330 seniors registered for Fandango, according to Chen. While registration for faculty members was optional, over 30 professors RSVP’d to the event as well. Like last semester’s Senior Soiree, registration for Fandango also served as a fundraiser for the Senior Class Challenge, the funds for which will go to the Student Success Fund. According to Chen, almost 70% of students donated, meeting the Senior Class Committee’s benchmark for the event. 

As 7 p.m. rolled around, seniors and faculty flooded into Gund Commons decked out in their finest cocktail attire. They were greeted with a spread of hors d’oeuvres catered through AVI, from beef empanadas with lime crema to parmesan and mushroom crostinis. Seniors were also delighted by the dessert table, featuring desserts from miniature cannolis to a chocolate fountain with doughnut holes, strawberries and marshmallows for dipping. The event also featured free alcohol for all faculty members and seniors above the age of 21. Attendees could choose from drinks like champagne, White Claws and white wine to sip while socializing with professors. The event also featured live music from three student bands: Victor, Seamore and Mouse Rock House Show. 

Chen took the stage partway through the event to announce upcoming events for the senior class, such as a Seniors Only trivia night at the Village Inn on April 3. Afterward, she announced Curry as the Commencement speaker, highlighting his past work in social justice activism and the Episcopal Church. 

At the end of her speech, Chen announced Keller as the Baccalaureate speaker, earning cheers and applause from the crowd. “It was a moment that we have very much anticipated,” Chen said, who was particularly excited by the results, and praised the Departments of Biology and Chemistry for mobilizing to vote for Keller. “It was nice to have a professor that I know really well and look up to.” 

While students in the Department of Chemistry socialized with their professors, other students took the opportunity to speak with professors in their respective departments as well. “I’m a German major, so it was nice to see both [Associate Professor of German Paul] Gebhardt and [Associate Professor of German Leo] Riegert there, and get to talk to them outside of the context of German class or my senior thesis,” Nika Cooper ’24 said in an interview with the Collegian. “It was fun to see a lot of professors in a very different social environment than in classes.” 

Sydney Whitworth ’24 agreed. “Fandango was great,” she said in an interview with the Collegian. “It was really weird to see all my professors outside of the classroom, but it was definitely an interesting and unique experience.” 

For other seniors, the food was the main attraction. “I’m just happy there was a chocolate fountain. That makes two this year,” Emi Loucks ’24 said. 

In the last few minutes of the event, a student crashed through one of the Gund Commons Game Room windows, according to Director of Campus Safety Michael Sweazey. 

“They received treatment for some lacerations, but there were no serious injuries,” Sweazey wrote in an email to the Collegian. “Campus Safety Officers responded quickly to help provide first aid, and custodial did a great job to ensure any glass was cleared away promptly.” 

“[The student is] feeling fine and… doing great,” Chen said of the incident. “And [the student] still had a great time.” 

Despite some hiccups, Chen viewed the night as a success and emphasized the importance of the senior class appreciating their next 100 days at Kenyon. “I think time is definitely flying,” Chen said. “At this point, a lot of us are looking forward to the next stage. There’s definitely a shift in attitude, because I feel like we’ve all become more fond and more appreciative of the time that we have left. There’s only two more months, and that’s it.”

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