StewVille changes traditions in time for anniversary

by Emily Goodell

The StewVille community is engaging in historical revisionism this year; removing a story from Traditiation, revising the dorm’s core values and not holding the Stewart Lawn Dance this year — just in time for Stewart Hall’s 50 year anniversary.One of Stewart’s traditional stories about the history of the dorm, known as EOY or the urinal story, including a popular chant was removed from traditiation this year.

StewVille resident director, Bryan Dennis said that the story of EOY began in the 1970s, when Stewart, traditionally an all-male dorm, converted to a co-ed dorm. In response to this change, the Stewart men tried to start a fraternity on campus with the Greek name “Sigma Omega Epsilon” the abbreviation of which was S.O.U., which stood for Save Our Urinals. The Greek letters looked like the English letters EOY, which is how the popular chant started. Dennis said that the story of EOY was removed this year because the leadership team, “wanted to focus on the StewVille community and not make urinals a big deal.”
StewVille senator Jeffrey DeBray said that they wanted to be “cognizant of the demographics of the dorm,” referring to the fact that there are more females than males in StewVille this year. There are 18 freshman men and 80 freshman women, Dennis said.

“Chanting about urinals doesn’t start the year off good, as a female student,” Tiki resident advisor Sureetha McCain said. “We’ll still explain the story if they ask, but this is how we’re representing [StewVille students] this year.”

“We can’t change the history of what happened in a dorm because it doesn’t line up with what we believe now to be true about gender and sexism,” former StewVille traditiator Brittany Boring said, in response to the removal of the story.

Boring, who traditiated in 2013, said that she was upset about the removal of the story.

“It saddens me, because I mean where you traditiate on campus holds a really special place in your heart…You’re always going to remember the time you had there and it’s really special,” Boring said. “You can never get it again, in your whole life.”

Boring also said that, as a female student who traditiated in StewVille, the story and chants about the urinals didn’t faze her at all.

“That’s just like a funny thing about the dorm and so that’s why we say ‘Save our urinals! EOY till we die! Save our urinals!’ because that’s what the guys shouted…It’s part of the dorm history,” Boring said.
Sophomore Geoff White, who traditiated in StewVille last year, agrees with Boring.

“There was nobody who did Traditiation that didn’t like it; that I know,” White said.

The StewVille community has been majority female for the past few years but this is the first year the tradition has been taken out of traditiation completely. DeBray said he did not know why it hadn’t been removed before.

“There is a new leadership team this year and new decisions are being made,” DeBray said.

One of the new decisions made about StewVille this year is about the dorm’s values which leadership has named “The Gold Standard.” This means that Stewart residents should be mindful, authentic, loving, connected and classy, Dennis said.

“What we are establishing is fostering community,” McCain said.
Another change being made in StewVille is that there will not be a Stewart Lawn Dance this fall. The dance is traditionally held as a back-to school event the first two weeks of school, on the Stewart lawn.
“What we are going to do this year is establish a new tradition,” DeBray said. “We’re going to have some sort of dance or event in the spring.”

The new event is not completely fully fleshed out yet, DeBray said.
“The only thing that is changing for sure is it’s going to be in the spring and we’re going to focus it around the Gold Standard theme,” DeBray said.

He also said that due to the newness of the Gold Standard and people’s unfamiliarity about it, that it would be difficult to present an event around the Gold Standard theme right now.

The main reason for the time change is due to the many events in the fall including the Freshman Fall Fest and the newly moved Duvall Drive-In.

DeBray said he has been contacted by friends of friends and StewVille alumni, and has had face-to-face conversations discussing individuals’ frustrations with the changes being made. DeBray said that alumni’s complaints are valid and that he’s not trying to dismiss them or say that they’re not important. He said he welcomes all alumni to talk to him personally about the changes.

Sometime in the next few weeks, StewVille will hold a primetime for StewVille alumni to talk about their traditiation experiences and bridge the gap that may exist between current and past residents of StewVille because of different experiences, DeBray said.

Although many traditions have changed this year for StewVille, there’s some that still remain standing.

One such story is the legend of Reverend Calvin Stewart.

“We were told the story of Reverend Calvin Stewart and he was a squid farmer and we were the squidettes and the squids and it was the cutest thing ever,” Boring said.

“The first night of Traditiation, we were put in white t-shirts and sent out the door, and they took us across over to Arend and they told us the story of Reverend Calvin Stewart-God rest his soul- who was, like a squid farmer,” White said.

Freshman Gian Mitchell said the legend continues today.

“Reverend Stewart—God rest his soul—anytime someone said ‘the Reverend Calvin Stewart,’ after that it was, ‘God rest his soul,’” Mitchell said.

Another, less widely known traditiation practice continues this year as well and goes back at least four years, where freshmen men throw a rock off a hill on campus.

“They all called us outside and said we were going to go on a hike and so we hiked up, we went out by, I think it was the football field…So we hiked up this big dirt hill and it’s a memory I will always have,” senior Brett Pray, 2012 StewVille traditiator said.

“We ran up a sand hill. It was out behind the Fieldhouse and it was really steep. Several people; including myself, needed help up it,” junior Joshua Huber, 2013 StewVille traditiator said. “It was symbolizing overcoming all the challenges at the start of the year.”
“There’s this hill. It’s somewhere on campus. I don’t know where it is, because it was in the dark and the way we got there was this super like windy path and it was raining,” White said.

“We went over to this dirt hill-gigantic hill, just pure dirt. We linked arms and made our way up said hill and we couldn’t let anyone fall down and-trust me-we were falling everywhere,” Mitchell said. “We had to make our way up.”

Next they are all told to chose a rock, write a fear on the rock and then climb up the hill.

“There was all these rocks and they said, ‘Pick a rock’ and so every guy in StewVille was like, ‘I’m gonna pick the biggest rock I can, because I want a big rock.’ So everybody picked the biggest rock they could find,” White said. “We had to carry these rocks around through like the undergrowth in the forest…We had to like link arms and carry our rocks up the hill.”

Lastly, they are told to throw the rocks off the hill.

“Take the rock, throw it down the bottom of the hill, forget about that and just focus on being here and having a good time,” Pray said.
“Then we all shared and just chucked it. It was a solid bro moment,” Mitchell said.

Pray said that he enjoyed his experiences with StewVille traditiation and living in the community of StewVille so much that four years later he still has his shirt and headband.

“I would hope that with any change, that they still have that great sense of community,” Pray said.

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