Castanets OptionalGAMBIER, Ohio (February 20, 2006) It's one hundred days until graduation, and Kenyon seniors, dressed to impress, mill about, enjoying an exclusive social event in the Gund Ballroom. An econ major realizes there's no sense in letting pride or embarrassment hold her back any longer. She extends her hand to a potential dance partner. It's… her professor?
Fandango, a senior-faculty dance that's a longstanding Kenyon tradition, signifies the beginning of a double-digit countdown to graduation. This year's Fandango will take place February 25. Various events for seniors occur throughout the spring, but the faculty guests are what make this one unique.
"It gives students a chance to thank their professors personally and to reflect on the year," explains senior Allison O'Flinn, one of the event's coordinators. Though the entire faculty is invited, students can deliver personal invitations to their favorite professors.
"But mostly, it's a great excuse to hang out with people outside of the context of a classroom, and eat, dance, and have fun," O'Flinn says. The senior class committee will provide finger food, drinks, and entertainment. Professor of Religious Studies Vernon Schubel's band, the T.J. Lewis Blues Revue, a student favorite, and DJ Phil Thompson, Class of 2007, will provide the music.
Owen Smith, Class of 2005, views the event as an equalizer. He notes that, as students, "We've all presented ourselves to our professors on their turf, at one time or another, in spite of our embarrassment and the creeping fear that our attempt to look respectable will collapse at any moment." Fandango turns the tables on the professors.
Smith, who sees the humorous side of the situation, says Fandango is "a perfect reminder that Kenyon students have the opportunity to explore the realm of friendship as well as knowledge with their professors. I guess you could say that, like all great comedy, Fandango brings students closer to the source of knowledge."
--by Lauren C. Ostberg, Class of 2007