In 2017 we stepped onto campus with no idea what was in store for our college journey. Plenty of us spent the last four years hiking up the hill to the townhouses searching for our soon to be best friends, sitting in booths eating pizza, dancing on tables at the Levee, stuffing cookies in to-go cups to smuggle out of the Tully, laughing in lounges in our dorm buildings until the late hours of the night and mastering the art of “dartying” on a Saturday afternoon. We have made enough memories here to last a lifetime, and we are determined to add to the list during the last few weeks here at Fairfield University.
While seniors unfortunately missed out on many iconic Fairfield traditions this year like Pres Ball, Red Sea Madness, Clam Jam and numerous other usual senior events like the 100 Days Until Graduation trip and Oktoberfest; graduation is quickly creeping up on us, and many students are beginning to feel nostalgic about the events we were able to attend and their favorite Fairfield memories.
“I’ve been lucky enough to live with the same friend group since sophomore year,” says Hannah Bartfield ‘21. “Some of my favorite memories are just from move-in days, getting excited to decorate our dorms, the townhouse and now our beach house.”
When asked what they will miss most about Fairfield after graduation, everyone said living with their best friends, and studying in place has forced students to spend more time with their friends. Leaving these both behind will be the hardest goodbye for nearly everyone.
“My favorite memories from Fairfield are definitely those days my friends and I spent in the library or the Mezz trying to study but just getting distracted by each other, laughing and having hour-long conversations about anything other than studying,” says Maggie Hahn ‘21. “It’s those days that you don’t even realize you’re making memories, but they are my favorite to look back on.”
Many students’ favorite memories stem from those traditional Fairfield events. Allie Tankel ‘21 says that Pres Ball is always her favorite event to go to.
“It’s the first event of the year, so it’s always the first thing we look forward to. My favorite memory is just dancing with my friends all night, and the mac and cheese bites are always amazing,” Tankel says.
Christian Chasse ‘21 agrees that Pres Ball creates the best memories, “It’s a night full of dancing with your friends,” he explains. “There are not many nights the entire campus gets together to celebrate, so I love dancing around everyone feeling like a community.”
SantaCon is another Fairfield favorite. Usually, the beach is lined with festive onesies, ugly Christmas sweaters and light-up necklaces, but this year things were a bit different.
“My favorite memory comes from junior year SantaCon. All of my roommates and I wore onesies and sang Christmas songs in our townhouse getting ready,” Heidi Hohorst ‘21 says. “I love seeing everyone dressed up, and my friends and I made a game up to drink every time we saw someone in a Santa suit,” she laughs.
“SantaCon is the last event of the fall semester,” says Josie Feliciano ‘21. “Everyone is excited to go on break and be done with finals, so we’re all in a good mood, singing and dancing to Mariah Carey on the beach. Definitely one of my favorite days at Fairfield,” she explains.
Fortunately for Hohorst and Feliciano, seniors were able to keep this tradition going this year, even in a global pandemic. Many seniors still dressed up and celebrated SantaCon with their roommates or close friends.
During the spring semester, the weather is warm, and everyone gets excited about “darties,” also known as day parties, on the townhouse lawn or the beach. Sham Jam is the first popular spring event, and Fairfield students don’t hold back on their attire or enthusiasm to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
Senior Kristen Bonelli says, “I love dressing up for Sham Jam. It’s an excuse for everyone to order new clothes, and you don’t even have to care what anyone else thinks because you know everyone will be dressed in all green with necklaces and accessories.”
Senior Shannon O’Meara reflects on her favorite Fairfield memory, “My sophomore year Sham Jam is one of my favorite memories I’ll take away from Fairfield. It was on the townhouse lawn, and the ground was just a sheet of snow and ice. Nobody even cared that it was freezing; everyone was just having the best time,” she says.
The most cherished event at Fairfield, however, seems to be Clam Jam. The class of 2021 did not get a Clam Jam of their own. Usually, the event is for upperclassmen only, but during the spring of 2019, “Two Friends” came to perform at the beach, and many of us got to attend as sophomores.
Senior Marc Stacey says, “Clam Jam was definitely one of the best days over the last four years. ‘Two Friends’ are one of my favorite music groups, so I knew I had to go see them.” Stacey is also a member of the school’s club volleyball team. He says that Clam Jam was a way that the team could say goodbye to their upperclassmen and cherish one last celebration together.
Nicole Dixon and Danielle Minieri ‘21 also attended Clam Jam that year, and they are constantly telling the story of their favorite memory. The two sophomores were excited to spend the day at the beach despite it being very cold and gloomy. Dressed for summer, they ended up taking the tablecloth from the caterer to use as a blanket for the day. They did not seem to care that they were definitely getting a few stares from other students; they were warm, and in that moment, that was all that mattered.
“The checkered table cloth went on to become a wall tapestry in our room in our townhouse the next year, and people were always questioning why it was hanging on the wall when they first came over,” says Minieri.
“We spent the entire day singing to songs we barely knew and dancing in a tablecloth. That day is in my memory forever,” Dixon says.
Despite the fact that we may not have had the traditional path to graduation, the seniors have undoubtedly left their mark on Fairfield University. We have made our best friends here, and for me, that includes my random freshman year roommate, Maura Sullivan.
One of the most cherished memories for both of us is when we decided to leave post-it notes all over our dorm for the next roommates to find. We wrote down our favorite memories we had made in the cinderblock walls of Campion 321 and passed down some tips and tricks to surviving our first year.
The girls who lived there next found us on Instagram, and we definitely got emotional hearing about their experiences in a place so dear to us.
Now, we are all dreading our final goodbye to Fairfield, the place we have all called home for the last four years. We are committed to making the little time we have left here worthwhile. That includes making even more memories to reflect on in the next few weeks, whether that be in our own living rooms with our roommates, at the Seagrape, or at the events coming up like Mock Wedding and Senior Week.