Asst. Features Editor
The Sachsen Society got a hold of Upper Quad on Friday, April 22, and proved that student entertainment is in good hands when they have anything to do with it. On Earth Day, the Sachsens’ reinstated their annual Psychedelic Circus with renewed liveliness, inviting all Poets to rejoice in earthly provisions and a welcoming community.
“We shouldn’t have just ‘student only’ events because then how will incoming [first-years] know that our school is fun and enjoyable to be around?,” said the event co-coordinator, fourth-year, Abigail Ambach, “If their only experience before coming to campus is a simple tour during school hours, then they don’t get an authentic feel for the campus. We are also in the heart of uptown Whittier, so it is important to have an event open to the community so they can see that Whittier College is thriving and not just taking up space in their town.”
The event had enough activities to cater to every Poet’s sense of fun. The fields of the Upper Quad showcased a rock climbing wall, multiple art vendors, photo booths, retro video games, and more. The laid-back atmosphere made it easy to feel like anyone could meander through life and surrender to the moment.
“I’m from East L.A., so I’ve always been like ‘yeah, community,’” said the event co-coordinator, fourth-year, Moanni Leos, “One of the first things I noticed about going to Whittier was how people would smile at you and say ‘what’s up’ to you. Like ‘I don’t know you but hi!’ But now everyone just walks with their heads down, ya know? And, I get that but we’re a small school like I see you all the time, say what’s up. Stop acting like you don’t exist. That’s how COVID fucked us up and that was another reason for having this event: reestablishing community ties and reestablishing student bonds,”
The lawn was dotted with students, crisscrossed and facing the stage that had been erected in front of the SLC, while bands like Range of Motion, Vegan Tuna, and Dad’s Cigarettes performed their first gigs. Performers with stronger fan bases appeared to gather later into the night, their silhouettes bobbing and swaying to the rhythm in the air. Leos, themselves, used their personal connections to the music scene to book bands willing to perform for our community.
“Getting bands was super easy because I’ve been going to shows since I was 16. Like, my homies from highschool — they play — I had them kinda headline. It was a really cool opportunity too. Three of those bands — it was their first time playing in front of people so that was really cool. I got to see everything I’m passionate about — music, art, community, and the people I care about — succeeding and growing,” said Leos.
But, putting together the event proved challenging for co-coordinators, Leos and Ambach. The duo noted various forms of miscommunication from office to office. To the young organizers, one question was likely to get a multitude of responses, specifically for the schools policy regarding off-campus guests.
“We kept hearing ‘yes they are’ and ‘no they aren’t,’ so that was incredibly annoying that no one is on the same page at this school. We asked the OSE and they would direct us to a different department. We asked Campus Safety and they would direct us back to the OSE. And we asked the Dean of Students Office and many more, all with the same answer: ‘We don’t know, go ask someone else,’” said Ambach.
Leos and Ambach derived much of their misunderstanding from the Event, Meeting, and Activity Policy on the Whittier College website where it notes that guests and vendors are allowed to attend approved events and activities if they comply with the institute’s COVID-19 protocol.
Notably, advertisements for the Psychedelic Circus relied on the individual efforts of Ambach and Leos, themselves. The event, free and available to the entire Whittier College community, seemed to garner little to no promotion from the Communications office. The Sachsen Society decorated the campus with technicolor flyers announcing the event, while their social media presence did the same. But, that is not the extent of the work the Society has executed for this event.
Other school organizations — like the Wild Women’s Club — took to showing support for the event over Instagram. The cooperation of this small collective successfully pulled off the society’s largest event since the pandemic halted student organizations and sent everyone home.
The festivities attracted a diverse group of Whittier College community members. The Dean of Students, Deanna Merino-Contina, and Brittney Plascencia-Saldana, the Interim Director of the Office of Student Engagement, could be found mingling with the student body at the event. Even the Campus Inn’s beloved, Daisy Machado, took her best shot at the dunk tank while students and alumni cheered her on. The Sachsen’s hope that the success of the event will inspire more like-minded individuals to join their society. Although not an official recruiting event, Psychedelic Circus served as a clear representation of the Society’s core values: a strong sense of community united by a good time.
“I don’t know about other societies. I don’t know what their deals are, but I know that our deal is to: have fun, work hard, play hard. So let’s put on fun events, and just kick back, and make memories. I’m hoping that I can attract people and recruits to help with the next Psych Circus,” said Leos.
This year’s Psychedelic Circus took the determination and perseverance of a few but left many Poets with fun-filled memories. Leos and Ambach of the Sachsen Society deserve credit for the growing enthusiasm surrounding future, on-campus events.
Featured Image Courtesy of Brianna Wilson / Quaker Campus