Silliman College is a college of quirks. Its freshmen forgo the drab Old Campus experience to leap directly into the joys of residential college life. Its patchwork architecture merges gothic towers with homely red brick. Its longtime dean tends to dress in drag when attending major Silliman events. But what remains perfectly normal every year is the intense spirit Sillimanders show for their college.
From the intramural fields to the annual snowball fight with unworthy Timothy Dwight College, Sillimanders throw themselves into every activity with unrivaled passion.
Each freshman class receives a warm welcome to their new home with the “Sillilympics” — a day full of ketchup-slurping, pickle-eating good times kicked off by a toga-wearing Dean Hugh Flick. Then Silliman gets retro with the ’80s-themed Safety Dance, where hundreds of Madonnas, Devos and Michael Jacksons force themselves into Commons. The expansive courtyard serves as home to constant games of stickball and ultimate frisbee.
In the bowels of the college, Sillimanders find all sorts of outlets for their less academic pursuits. Sure-footed Sillimanders can step up on the climbing wall, while basketball players can pick up a game in the half-court “Sillidome.” The “Buttery” serves up greasy food to fuel all-nighters, and the recently refurbished gym offers a wide array of equipment to work the fries and smoothies back off. Those looking to watch their favorite film in style can see it in “Silliflicks,” a mini-movie theater. The basement of Silliman also contains a darkroom, a bookbindery and, soon, a new game room.
The college also has a long tradition of high-profile Master’s Teas, allowing students in past years to chat with the Indigo Girls, the Roots and John McCain, among others. Last year new Master Judith Krauss continued this trend, capping off a year of constant teas with “Survivor I” winner Richard Hatch. “Master K” also carried on the fine Silliman tradition of trouncing Pierson’s “Master G” in a fierce jello-wrestling match.
Year-round, Silliman College’s spirited oddities shine through. From the early semester “Tequila Monday” thrown in the college’s famed Beach Club suite to the friendly midnight reminder given to TD students at the beginning of finals with the “Primal Scream,” Silliman College makes itself heard. Benjamin Silliman, the “father of American scientific education,” would be proud of his namesake.
Michael MacKenzie ’03 is a junior in Silliman.