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Sti-Yu-Ka tradition returns to Springfield College with a new look

By Garrett Cote

Last week, yet another exuberating and successful event took place on Alden Street. Put together by members of Student Activities, Sti-Yu-Ka made its way back onto campus after taking last spring off by dint of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Sti-Yu-Ka is a Native American term that means, “the Coming of Age,” and is a week-long series of events that was created by a group of Springfield College students back in 1962, as they recognized the need for alternative programming during the springtime.

To this day, those students’ mission lives on, with Springfield continuing to provide programs throughout the week to furnish opportunities for current students to socialize in a safe environment. It takes place every April, starting on a Monday and ending the following Sunday.

With a handful of students deciding to remain at home throughout this semester, this year’s edition of Sti-Yu-Ka was altered to involve students who were unable to attend physically.

“We are so happy and proud to have been able to provide a hybrid version of Sti-Yu-Ka this year,” began Assistant Director of Student Activities Julie Koivisto. “We allowed students who are both here physically and working remotely to be a part of the fun. We hosted a virtual Bingo, GooseChase Scavenger Hunt, and Trivia Night in addition to our on campus activities.”

The noted on-campus activities included a relay race, the lumber olympics, a day at the beach, a carnival and some late night feasting outside of Cheney Dining Hall. Members of Student Activities worked closely all week with Harvest Table, ensuring all safety guidelines were met when serving food to students, faculty and staff.

Each year, Student Activities seeks to bring forth new and innovative ideas to Sti-Yu-Ka for students to experience while also carrying on the legacy of their traditional events – Sti-Yu-Ka Bingo (the most popular of the events), Sti-Yu-Ka Games (sponsored by the Office of Alumni Relations), and the Sti-Yu-Ka Carnival (which always wraps up the week of events).

On top of that, and considering COVID-19 is still as prominent and present as ever, the week-long event was also shifted to fit the Springfield College coronavirus rules and regulations.

“Every in person event was equipped with lots of hand sanitizer and we had volunteers to help us with crowd control. We took the hand sanitizer so seriously that it became the baton for the relay race. A lot of our events had different activities for students to participate in, providing lots of space in between events and limiting the time students could linger at one event,” Koivisto shared.

Despite the necessary modifications, Sti-Yu-Ka was still a huge accomplishment. Although Koivisto advises Sti-Yu-Ka, she gives all of the credit to the student committee who put loads of time into making this year’s version of the event a possibility.

“It’s really the student committee that develops the vision and makes it become a reality,” lauded Koivisto. “This year’s Co-Chairs, Abby Hoffner and Allie Pisano-Stratton, were so dedicated to making this year’s Sti-Yu-Ka one to remember. Between the two of them, the entire committee, and our campus partners, we would not have been able to pull off such a successful week of events.”

The hope is to have a mutually beneficial – to students and Sti-Yu-Ka organizers – normal-looking Sti-Yu-Ka event next spring, with all dependence on the state of the Coronavirus disease when that time comes. A sense of normalcy will release the burden on Koivisto and her crew of having to organize Sti-Yu-Ka both virtually and physically, while also providing the ability to freely enjoy the tradition of what has been a truly monumental week for Springfield College students since 1962.

Photos Courtesy of Springfield College Marketing and Communications

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