Green and white balloons and streamers as well as banners supporting the Sarah Lawrence Gryphons decorated the Campbell Sports Center gymnasium. The bleachers were filled with students waving pom poms, cheering on the Gryphon teams. The annual homecoming game, which took place on December 2, provided a rare rah rah spirit on Sarah Lawrence’s campus.
This year the women and men’s basketball teams were the featured games for homecoming and both were up against Pratt Institute. The Sarah Lawrence women’s team played first and lost 30 to 89, but the defeat did not hamper the high energy of the crowd.
Taryn Penna (’19), a player on the women’s team, said, “We were really excited coming into it. It was our first time playing as a team. We had two scrimmages last year. We actually did play Pratt last year so we remember a few of the returning players, but I think they have a few new players this year.”
The women’s basketball team is still only a club sport, but will be DIII next year.
When commenting on the crowd, Penna said, “It was nice to have people there for us when we did do something well and have the crowd cheer. It would just give us that momentum and happiness and even though we didn't come out on top it felt good that people here were cheering us on.”
The men’s basketball team followed the women. At the end of the first half, the game was a tight 44 to 36 with Sarah Lawrence Gryphons winning by 8 points. During the second half, the Gryphons widened the gap and triumphed 100 to 71.
Malin Segal, one of the star shooters of the night, said, “We played well. We came out flat, but we had more energy in the second half and that’s why we won.”
During the men’s basketball halftime, the Sarah Lawrence dance team came out and performed to Beyoncé’s “Formation.” The lively dance was finished with a political statement against police brutality. Sirens were sounded and the dancers held up their hands, some turning away from the crowd and a few remaining face forward.
Anjette Rostock (’17), the co-captain of the team, explained, “I intended to do ‘Formation’ before Trump being elected. I really enjoy the song and the message of female empowerment. But after the election happened I talked to my team. ‘Formation’ is a black empowerment song and we should do what it intends.”
Outside of the gymnasium there was a pop-up bookstore shop and a tag sale with vintage sports jerseys and attire. The proceeds of the tag sale were given to the Student Athletics Advisory Committee (SAAC).
Kamaron McNair (’18), vice-chair of student senate and president of SAAC, explained SAAC’s function. “We organize events at the sports center. We do some work with homecoming. We do Midnight Madness and we do a lot of charity work. This year we are working with an organization [AFYA] that sends medical supplies and aid to undeveloped countries.”
SAAC and Students for Students Scholarship Fund (SSSF) work together to put on homecoming. SAAC does the decorations and tag sale and SSSF runs the concession stand and raffle. The proceeds of the concession stand and raffle go to student scholarships. Although assistant director of student involvement and leadership, Valerie Romanello, explained that homecoming typically raises around $300, promoting SSSFs presence on campus is their main goal.
Senate Chair Leonardo Rocchiccioli (’18) explained the importance of homecoming for student senate. “I think what’s really nice about homecoming is that it lets students interface and interact with senate in a different way. We haven’t had enough events like this in the past and we will hopefully have more of these types of events in the spring,” he said.
From the athletics to the activities, homecoming appeared to be a successful event with an impressive turnout from students, faculty and alumni.
Jenny Eskin (’86), who studied ballet as a Sarah Lawrence student and currently is a history and philosophy teacher, came to celebrate homecoming. “I come back to Sarah Lawrence often. I haven’t come back for homecoming. I didn't know we even had a homecoming until now. But I got an email inviting me and I am delighted to be here,” said the former alumni association member.
This is also Evan Stern’s (’03) first homecoming game. “It’s wonderful to reconnect with Sarah Lawrence and take a trip down memory lane. It’s nice to come home again for the homecoming,” said the working actor. Stern mentions the changing atmosphere and demographics of Sarah Lawrence. “Back then the thought of having a big sign saying Gryphons, people would have laughed at it so it’s fun to see the sports teams growing.”
President Karen Lawrence was in attendance and praised the event. “This is an event that I try to come to every year. I missed it last year, which I was disappointed about, but it is so great to see people coming and cheering the teams. This is the first time I have seen the women’s team play and it’s great,” she said in the alumni reception area. “It’s gotten better and better every year. More alumni and students come and there’s nothing better then to see a full gym, to see Campbell Sports Center full of cheering fans and players.”
From the crowds in the stands to the athletes on the court, homecoming was a slam-dunk.
Andrea Cantor '17