Serendipity 2014

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Serendipity 2014

Kiyoka Ikemura/Guilfordian

Kiyoka Ikemura/Guilfordian

Kiyoka Ikemura/Guilfordian

Time meant nothing. Community meant everything.

Serendipity 2014 was a story of convergence and congregation. The events and activities hosted by Guilford College were a mere backdrop for the hodgepodge of tentatively connected people to come together and exist in each other’s company.

If nothing else, Serendipity begins to render the arbitrary nature of campus divisions absurd.

It seemed as if nobody wore a watch. Pending assignments were ignored until the Sunday morning hangover when time regained its meaning and urgency.

If only for a moment, Guilford once again renewed its promise to promote community in its annual serendipitous fashion.

 

Frolicking First-Years

“It’s like cultural anthropology,” said first-year William Howell. “You’ve got to know what it’s like.”

For first-year students, Serendipity was the fruition of a whisper heard at orientation.

“Serendipity was hyped up as the event that exemplified Guilford, that exemplified the freedom and expression of self and the community,” said first-year Emma Moreno.

In that spirit of liberation, students carelessly tossed Frisbees by the lake, ignoring imminent sunburns.

“I kept myself content and lowered my expectations just in case I was expecting too much,” said first-year Ava Nadel. “This is exactly how I like it. It’s peaceful but also filled with pizzazz and enthusiasm.”

“I was a little nervous and excited because I’m a first-year,” said Moreno. “I set up my blanket and suddenly there was another blanket growing off of it.”

Nadel continued, “I think as a first-year, it’s kind of extraordinary for me to see the whole campus come together. I feel like it’s always split between athletics and extracurriculars. It’s kind of nice to break those labels and have everyone forget about that for a weekend.”

In the colorful plume of Holi powder, everyone shared common ground.

“It’s not one person,” said Moreno. “It’s not me and my friends at Serendipity; it’s me and the whole Guilford community.”

 

Veterans of the Night

“Joyce, get in the picture,” a crowd of friends called to senior Joyce Medina Allard on Friday afternoon.

They needed one more person at the top of their pyramid for their post-Holi fest photograph.

“Here’s the community,” said Medina Allard, motioning to the group of international students gathered next to her. “Just look right over here.”

Although community was a huge part of Serendipity this year, some thought the barriers between strangers took longer than usual to be broken.

“I felt that there was a lot of interaction between students, but it was mostly among groups of friends,” said first-year Colin Macintosh.

With the help of many forms of “courage,” the walls between groups began to crumble. Even Friday night headliner Killer Mike seemed to feel the vibe.

“Take care of each other,” Mike advised to the crowd several times after a charismatic delivery of Outkast’s “The Whole World.”

After the political middle finger of Mike’s anthem, “Reagan,” Mike even stepped down from the stage and waded through the sweaty crowd.

Now, he was really part of the community.

“We got to eat watermelon with him after the show,” said junior Ines Sanchez De Lozada.

That’s the beauty of Serendipity.

 

Onstage Alumni/Returning to the Stage

As if they never washed the glitter off their skin from previous years, many alumni returned to campus for the annual festivities.

Guilford bluegrass duo Whiskey Fingers’ unofficial Saturday set at the Pines maintained its informality with a crowd of friendly-faced alumni.

“Public service announcement: Grace, can you pass me that Yuengling by your feet?” said Whiskey Fingers banjo player and CCE student Will Kimmel to Grace Ray ’13.

Inside the Pines earlier in the week, some alumni even took the stage themselves.

Ryan James ’13 and Bonnie Hardee ’13 returned to campus to celebrate the electro-pop of their most recent project, Dot.S.

After a raucous set, as James packed up his instruments at the end of the night, a friend called him over to the window, who then congratulated him while pulling him out sideways for a laugh-filled reunion.

As the sun set by the lake on Saturday evening, Johanna Breed ’08 took the Lakefest stage.

While guest pianist Miah Luz took a solo, Breed, wearing colorful leggings and a black dress, stepped offstage temporarily to play soccer with tutu-wearing students up front.

Serendipity, once again, brought together the disparate aspects of the Guilford community.

A Saturday evening highlight involved another recent graduate.

Halfway through a seamless set of funk, jazz and hip-hop, the Blue Roots Experiment invited Beau Young Prince ’13 onstage to trade verses.

“Just bounce,” Young shouted, leaping into the air and buoying off the energy of Blue Roots M.C. and senior Jordan Clark.

Even Associate Professor of Religious Studies Eric Mortensen couldn’t resist dancing in the grass with his son.

Grooving with the crowd, the Blue Roots stretched their circle of enthusiasm wide with supplement by the recruited talents of percussionist and junior Devon Rohe, singer and senior Candice Nelson and hula-hooper Maria Nehring.

It’s no coincidence that the Blue Roots covered Golden Age hip-hop legends. They embody the spirit of 1990s hip-hop collectivism and, even more, the Serendipity spirit.

“Before we move into our last song, just take a moment and look onto the stage and note all the beautiful souls bringing the sounds and colors to you this evening,” said Clark to the crowd.

“Not just jazz, not just hip-hop, not just funk, it’s everything. It’s Serendipity. We are you, you are us, so let’s dance.”

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