On Oct. 4, the desk of Dr. Thomas Smith, director of the University Honors Program, was abandoned by its usual occupant. As the second annual Honors Director for a Day event took place, senior accounting and finance major Paula Pilipovic claimed this desk as her own. She won the opportunity to be the Honors Director for the day in a raffle open to all honors students. Upon winning, she unveiled her grand scheme for the day of converting the lawn outside of Garey Hall into a carnival.
“I thought it would be fun to pie the teachers and make them wear red noses,” Pilipovic said in regards to her choice of the day’s festivities.
“Also, I made everyone call me ‘oh captain, my captain’.”
Aside from the clown attire and pie-your-professor station, there were soft pretzels, cotton candy, hotdogs, apple cider donuts, popcorn, spoon and egg races, a high striker game along with other fun carnival treats and activities. The sound of the high striker could be heard throughout the day in Garey Hall as carnival attendees tried their hand at swinging the hammer with enough strength to ring the bell.
“I won a blue first place ribbon at the egg race and it was the highlight of my day,” freshman Michael Lee said. Students stopped by throughout the day to participate in all the carnival had to offer.
Other than creating a much-needed atmosphere of relaxation and frivolity prior to midterms, the event helped establish relationships between faculty and students outside of the classroom.
“We want the turning upside down of the hierarchy to empower the students to own the culture,” Smith said. “They can have fun outside of class at an event associated with academics and, at the same time, build community.”
The community aspect was tangible as faculty members volunteered for, and in some cases were coerced to, the pie-your-professor station. At the station, the professors were asked to place their heads within a target and for $5, students were allowed to pie their favorite mentors in the face. University President Rev. Peter Donohue, O.S.A., even stopped by to pie the would-be Director Smith.
Not only did the carnival aim to encourage faculty-student camaraderie, but the proceeds from the pie-your-professor station went to SREHUP, or the Student-Run Emergency Housing Unit of Philadelphia.
According to the SREHUP website, the organization’s mission “is to achieve long-lasting positive changes for the community of people experiencing homelessness by providing for this population’s immediate needs while empowering individuals to lift themselves out of homelessness and advocating for changes that will end homelessness.” Villanova is one of the five “distinct college chapters” in the Philadelphia area that makes up the non-profit organization.
“We really would like to thank Barb, Cayce and Dr. Smith for all their work and how easygoing they have been about the day,” Pilipovic and Madeliene Messinger said. Messinger was the assistant director for the day.
“It has been really upbeat,” Messinger said. “The day shows how fun Honors can be.”
After a second successful Director for a Day event, both the faculty and students are hopeful for the eventual establishment of a continued tradition in the future.