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Davis, California

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

Students organize fourth annual Classics Day

Saturday will give current, past and prospective students the chance to experience ancient antiquity when the Classical Studies Association hosts the Classics Day celebration in the Sproul courtyard.

The fourth annual Classics Day will begin at 11:30 a.m. and continue until approximately 4 p.m. One of the day’s featured events is the public stoning of the association’s president, Jeff Lee – with water balloons, of course.

“This event shows the campus that studying classics today can give you both an outstanding liberal education and incredible bonds of friendship with your fellow students,” said Sara Mykytyn, vice president of the association in an e-mail interview.

Mykytyn, a senior double major in classical civilization and environmental toxicology, said that if it weren’t for her participation in the Classical Studies Association, she would have never decided to pursue a major in classics, let alone go past her initial classes.

For younger students undecided about their futures, Classics Day can be a determining factor in where they choose to attend college.

“[Classics Day] was one of the events I first heard about when deciding whether or not to come to Davis,” said John William Miller, next year’s vice president for the Classical Studies Association in an e-mail interview. “The classics community basically won me over.”

Events for Saturday, along with the public stoning, will include a barbeque lunch and multiple skits including a performance of the song “I Won’t Say I’m in Love” from the Disney movie Hercules.

“I’m really looking forward to the students’ production.… Thanks to our musical producer, Sara Scheller, the performance should be fun and give a good laugh,” said Miller, a first-year classical languages and literature major.

Mykytyn is also looking forward to the skit performances, one of which will be The Aeneid in 30 minutes.

Every skit is based on classical literature and traditions, but stripped down, dressed in drag, stuffed with bad puns and still performed in front of all the professors,” she said.

A mock faculty lecture will be done by the participants of the Classical Studies Association, making impressions of the professors in the classics department. Professor Rex Stem had planned to give a lecture on “Catullus,” or Roman sex, but instead decided to lecture on a currently unknown but educational topic because younger students will be in the audience.

Other changes have been made to this year’s event, making it more student-focused.

“This year, we have also tried to focus on making Classics Day a way for current students to really take ownership of their studies and to make them relevant to the modern world,” Mykytyn said.

Previous years’ events have included a recitation of Homer and Virgil by translator and performer Stanley Lombardo.

“This year the event is more low-key,” said Emily Albu, associate professor of classics and the Classical Studies Association advisor.

This year’s Classics Day was completely student organized. Event coordinators hope many people interested in the classics, not just classic majors, come out to enjoy the day’s events.

“The students do this event entirely on their own,” Albu said. “Every year they amaze me with their ingenuity and energy and wit.”

Other events advertised include knowledge booths about classic studies, Roman jokes and many members and participants dressed in classical Greek or Roman clothing.

I’m sure those of us that are in the skits will dress up in some type of garb,” Miller said. “We’ll all probably be dressed like some type of character from mythology, like the infamous Paris.”

Miller encourages anyone interested to come check out the festivities of ancient antiquity.

“It’s a great way to meet fellow students, the faculty and it is more than likely to offer some laughs. It should be great!” Miller said.


ANGELA RUGGIERO can be reached at campus@californiaaggie.com.


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