A tradition that began as the ambitious idea of several Springfield College students in 1962 is entering its 50th year of existence. As seasoned Springfield College students know, Sti-Yu-Ka is right around the corner.
“A group of students in 1962 wanted to create a club that promoted events that were not centered around drinking and have alternative programming,” Annie Warchol, the advisor for the Sti-Yu-Ka Committee said. “That is the real mission behind Sti-Yu-Ka.”
Sti-Yu-Ka, which will be held April 16-22, is a Native American phrase that translates to “The Coming of Age,” according to Warchol. It is similar to a Jewish Bar Mitzvah, in which someone transitions from childhood into adulthood.
Although SC’s Sti-Yu-Ka does not necessarily represent this coming of age, the club that runs it is dedicated to upholding the mission that the week was built upon.
“We have a ton of programming that’s going on [that is] catered to students that want to have a week long of festivities,” Warchol said.
The Sti-Yu-Ka Committee had to start fresh this year after last year’s entire board graduated. Evan Knowlton, first-year president of the club, was thrown right into action along with the rest of his new board.
“It was really my first experience with any club. To step right into president was a little tough,
but I think I’ve managed pretty well with a little help from my friends,” Knowlton said.
The club’s sole purpose is to prepare events for the week of Sti-Yu-Ka each spring semester, which they have been planning for since October. Knowlton and his team of approximately eight to 15 members have the freedom to schedule a wide range of events within their budget. They even sent one representative in November to attend the National Association for Campus Activities to search for talent to bring back to Sti-Yu-Ka.
“When you really start off in the beginning of the year, you have a clean slate,” Knowlton said. “It’s really your decision to do whatever you want, and I think we came up with some good ideas this year.”
Their most ambitious idea plays off the 50th-anniversary theme. The club purchased a 50-inch television and plans on giving it away to one lucky student, but with a catch. That student will have to survive a battle of will with 10-15 other students who will be vying for the same prize.
“You’re going to have to stay on the TV, and the last person standing wins,” vice president of the Sti-Yu-Ka Committee Roger John Reidy said.
According to Reidy, the club will have sign-ups throughout the week for students to be entered to win the TV. The club is also planning on giving additional entry opportunities to students that attend events during the week that are hosted by the Sti-Yu-Ka committee. On April 22, 10 to 15 names will be selected randomly and those people will be granted the chance to win the TV by attempting to outlast their competition. Bathroom breaks will be allotted at set times, but other than that whoever remains touching the TV the longest wins. The minute a contestant loses contact with the TV they are eliminated.
Besides this new event, the Sti-Yu-Ka committee is also introducing several other first-time activities. Among those activities is a slam poet, Mike McGee, who will perform the innovative style of poetry on the Richard B. Flynn Campus Union Stage on April 17 from 8-9 p.m.
Another new event on April 18 will be hosted as a charity event for Shriners and Lisa Meyrick from Aramark on the Naismith Green from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. According to Warchol, students can donate $15 (in cash) for a faculty member to be “arrested” for up to an hour. Faculty members who wish to gain amnesty can pay $10 to avoid their fate. Also, an additional $20 can be paid to keep a prisoner in jail for an extra half an hour. The event will take place rain or shine, and all forms need to be submitted to the Campus Police no later than April 15 at 5 p.m.
A Psychic Fair will be held at the Union from 8-11 p.m. on April 18 as well.
“We usually have the psychic fair at the carnival, but it’s such a big hit that we figured we would take it out and make it its own event,” Warchol said.
Another first-time highlight is “Bonk,” a trivia game with a twist that will be held on April 20 from 10:30-11:30 p.m.
“Essentially it’s Jeopardy, but instead of a buzzer, you wear a helmet and you have a rubber hammer and you hit yourself in the head to buzz in,” Reidy said.
In addition to the new events that the club has infused into the lineup, Sti-Yu-Ka contains many staples that have remained for years. These tried-and-true events include a comedian on opening night, the Campus Activities Board’s Midnight Bingo on April 18, Residence Life’s Taste of SC on April 19, the Greased Pole Climb and Oatmeal Pass on April 20 and a carnival on Reed Green on April 22 to conclude the weeklong agenda of activities.
The Sti-Yu-Ka committee is excited to see all of their hard work finally put into action, but even though they planned the week’s activities that does not mean that they are excluded from cashing in on the fun.
“I want to see people come out [and] have a good time, because it’s all stuff that we’re going to enjoy doing. I want to attend the events myself,” Knowlton said.
Even after 50 years, Sti-Yu-Ka is still going strong and has embedded itself as a tradition at a school full of timeless treasures.
“Springfield College is all about traditions,” Warchol said. “It’s the only place I’ve ever worked where I’ve seen so many traditions that have lasted so long, and I think Sti-Yu-Ka is a great tradition.”