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The Blue & Gray Press | August 21, 2019

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Class Council celebrates campus tradition with beach-themed Junior Ring Week

Class Council celebrates campus tradition with beach-themed Junior Ring Week


Class Council, known as the organization on campus that carries out events that honor the University of Mary Washington’s most treasured traditions, did their part this weekend in celebrating the 58-year tradition of Junior Ring Week.

Junior Ring Week started in 1957 and was originally more about the actual ceremony when junior class members were presented with their college ring. However, as time went on, the event expanded to a celebration of juniors for a whole week.

In the past couple of years, Class Council expanded the event to give it more of a cohesive theme and rebooted the tradition of having a dance as part of the weeklong celebration.

According to senior Connor Murphy, the promotions director for the Class of 2015 and the executive board, last year was the first time the week included a dance since 2009.

“When Ring Week began back in 1957, the dance was the most popular event in part because not everyday of the week had an event,” said Murphy.

The idea behind putting a theme to Ring Week was so that Class Council could reintegrate the dance into the week of events, as well as give direction to the week as a whole.

“I personally had wanted the dance to be brought back since I was a freshman,” said Murphy.

Kayla VanWerkhoven, a junior geology major, said that during her freshman year, the week had six events with no overarching theme, and the ceremony was held on that Saturday instead of Friday.

Now that the dance is back, it has seen its way back to being one of the most popular events for Class Council, and caused an increased turnout for events across the whole week as compared to years past.

This year’s theme was beach/luau, which brought upon events such as Monday’s luau on campus walk and Tuesday’s treasure hunt. The luau was mostly a giveaway of items on campus, where Class Council handed out sunglasses and beach balls to all students while the shirts and tiki cups were given exclusively for juniors.

The rest of the week’s events included Wednesday’s glow in the dark dodge ball, Thursday’s dance and Friday’s ring ceremony. All of these events that recur annually, but the dance is decorated to fit the specific year’s theme.

Class of 2016 President Ethan Lane said the event was incredibly successful and a fun event for all.

“I can’t say if that was due to the theme or the weather, but I would like to think it was a combination of both,” said Lane.

The dance is sponsored by the university’s alumni association and is held in the Jepson Alumni Center.

“The turnout was great,” said Lane. “The DJ, who we hired from Party Cartel, had me and everyone else jamming all night.”

Following Thursday’s dance was Friday’s ring ceremony, where the juniors got to hear three speakers. Lane introduced the evening’s speakers, which consisted of class of 1983 graduate and director of James Monroe Museum Scott Harris, Provost, Jonathan Levin and the keynote speaker for the evening, assistant professor of political science Chad Murphy.

The juniors were given their class rings, which led to the snapping of the boxes, a tradition during the ceremony where all the juniors snap their ring boxes shut in unison. According to the VanWerkhoven, the snapping of the boxes is to “snap us into senior year.”