By Bridget Ruffing, ’22
The students at Thomas More College have successfully completed their second week of classes, and the weekend has provided glorious sunshine and balmy weather just in time for more outdoor festivity. This time, the campus grounds took on a distinctly European air, as students got to savor the tastes, sights, and sounds of Italy and France.
On Friday night, students were transported to a cozy outdoor bistro, where they enjoyed wine, cheese and grapes amid the ambience of soft Italian music and glowing lanterns. Younger participants were able to order their own Italian Soda-inspired drinks, composed from an arrangement of flavorings, seltzer, and citrus, from the “bar.” Those who were of age had the opportunity to choose from a wide range of reds and whites, advised by Director of Collegiate Life, Dr. Sara Kitzinger. In the corner of the tent, dreamy travel videos of the Mediterranean lit up a projector screen, further contributing to the sense that students had truly ventured into the hills of Tuscany without even having to leave Campus grounds.
As the Saturday sun set, bathing the lawn in soft, hazy hues of peach and lavender, the students continued their sojourning into France. Stretching out on a wide array of blankets, chairs and benches, attendees munched on bags of popcorn and snack food as they watched the hijinks of Audrey Hepburn and Peter O’Toole in the romantic comedy How to Steal a Million. Once the opening credits began to roll, there was hardly a pause in the boisterous laughter ringing out across the grounds, and viewers took in luscious color shots of Parisian architecture and artwork amid the shenanigans. Regarding the film, freshman Regina Thompson and Sophomore Benny Wassel agreed that it “was fun to have outside” and, “everybody loved it.”
Students made one last trip to Italy to close the weekend on a sweet note: with a dolce of iced coffee and pastry that tasted like it came fresh from a side-street café. Sophomore Bernadette Lloyd, ’23, began her day in the school’s kitchen, whipping up enough delicious flakey biscotti to share with the entire student body. These snappy, flavorful cookies paired perfectly with cups of creamy coffee topped with a silky chocolate drizzle.
Thomas More College has strong ties to European and especially Roman culture, and each class has the opportunity to explore the art and architecture of Rome in person during the Spring semester of their Sophomore year. Senior Eli Moorman, ’21, agreed that the bistro night was very reminiscent of his time there, commenting that “it was very nice,” and he “enjoyed it a lot.” For the upperclassmen, the event was a great way to revive memories of their time abroad, while for the underclassmen, it was a glimpse of the Italian adventures they hope to enjoy themselves in the near future.
The college’s efforts to host as many functions as possible outdoors has been received with enthusiasm by the student body. Not only have these efforts enabled all to make the most of the last warm weeks of the year, but it has better provided for social distancing and safe air flow. The freshmen have adjusted particularly well to the implementation of these measures, which include gathering for the Liturgy of the Hours in the college’s scenic grotto. “Having Compline outside has been great”, remarked John Armstrong, ’24. Regina Thompson, ’24 agrees: “I love praying Lauds outside. The walk to the grotto really helps clear your head.” The resurgence of summer-like weather has continued into the week, bolstering students’ moods and keeping spirits high as they return to their classes.