On Sept. 19, 2018, the echoing of drums and cheers could be heard from Salem College’s residence halls mere minutes before the sun rose. The Winston Salem State University’s marching band had arrived, with the senior class of 2019 trailing along right behind them. Their pots, pans, noise makers and cheering blared in the early morning to wake up the rest of the school. Fall Fest had begun.
Each year, the First-Years, Sophomores, Juniors, and Seniors compete in a friendly competition to win Fall Fest. They are judged in many categories, such as morning, afternoon, and evening skits, decorations, chants and cheers, t-shirt design and participation. At the end of the day, the Juniors ended up taking home first place, giving the class of 2020 the overall win two years in a row.
Amanda Dacunto, a junior double majoring in Sociology and Criminal Studies, served as this year’s Fall Fest Chair and chose the overall theme of “Into The Woods.” Based off the overall theme, the Seniors chose “Shrek,” the Juniors “Winnie the Pooh,” the Sophomores “Where the Wild Things Are,” and the First-Years “Narnia.”
Dacunto believes that “Fall Fest is a time where everyone comes together to support one another and lift the spirits early in the academic year. I think this tradition connects not only the students but all of the alumni.”
Dacunto began preparing for this year’s Fall Fest in early July, but one thing none of us could have planned for was the arrival of Hurricane Florence.
“The hurricane added a lot of stress to my plate because I had to reorganize a lot of scheduling and try to be as accommodating as I could to everyone,” she said.
Each class lost about a week of rehearsal as a result of the Hurricane and Salem’s closing of the college on Thursday, September 13, and Friday, Sept. 14, less than a week before Fall Fest day.
Destiny Mims, a senior majoring in Math and seeking a secondary education teaching licensure, was the Senior class Fall Fast chair for this year. She says that “losing out on rehearsal time because of Hurricane Florence hindered our preparation for Fall Fest.” However, Mims claims that “watching my class enjoy themselves was the best moment for me. Whenever I would look over and see someone smiling as they sang a song or chanted a cheer made me feel like the struggle was worth it.”
Emma Gilley, a first-year intending to major in History and English, served as the First-Year’s Fall Fest Chair. Of running for the position, Gilley said, “I knew that I wanted to be involved at Salem, especially within my own class in a way that allowed me to interact with fellow first years as well as other students. Tradition is one of the main reasons that I fell in love with Salem and running for Fall Fest Chair offered me the perfect mixture of tradition and involvement.”
Gilley claimed, “I told my class from the beginning that more than anything I wanted Fall Fest to be fun, inclusive, and bring us closer together. Our energy as a class throughout the entire day warmed my heart…and proved to me that they trusted me, they were having fun, and they were excited.”
Gilley, and the rest of the Class of 2022, is keeping Salem on its toes to see what they will do next, claiming, “Look out, Class of 2020!”
In preparation for next year, Salem students are already wondering: “How many more days ‘til Fall Fest?”