A Brief History of Elon’s Winter Term Diversity Tradition

Stephanie Hays

Winter Term at Elon is used as a time for the university to focus on diversity by hosting sessions, lunches, and activities for students to engage in discussions about the different facets of diversity and how it impacts students’ lives.

This year, the theme “The Difference Difference Makes” links together the events being held on campus, which celebrates human diversity.

Elon started having themed Winter Terms in 2000, naming the first one “The Millenium” after the end of the 1900s and beginning of the 2000s. 2013 became the first Winter Term to have a theme of diversity, with the name of “Learn. Engage. Appreciate,” after making a commitment to diversity in its long-term plans. 2013 also saw the start of many different events and courses with ties to diversity, including the multi-faith lunch series, and multiple notable speakers. Every year since, Elon has continued the theme of diversity during Winter Term.

A highlight of Winter Term is the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoration Program, which features keynote speakers and a multitude of other events to honor his life and legacy over the course of the week. There is also a Humanitarian Essay Contest, started in 2001, was created to increase awareness for Dr. King’s vision of a more humane America and is open to middle school students in Alamance County.

The first Martin Luther King Jr. Day Event at Elon was held in 1979, and was hosted by the Black Student Union. Elon started an annual Commemorative Program for King in 2001. The first Commemorative program featured speaker Sir Walter Mack. Jr., a 1989 Elon graduate and pastor of Union Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.

Other Winter Term traditions include Burst the Bubble courses, which began in 2007, and are relaxed, student-led classes. They’re held anywhere from one to four times a week, have no homework, and offer a chance for students to learn about topics that aren’t typically taught at Elon. The first year of Burst the Bubble had 12 different classes, and this year, there are 14 that cover topics such as modern cooking, virginity, water color painting, and the history of Nintendo.

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Men’s Rugby at Elon

October 9, 2015

Emma Flaherty

Elon Men's Ruby team circa 1995. Photograph by

Elon Men’s Ruby team circa 1995. Photograph by Pendulum staff.

During Homecoming 2015 celebrations, Elon University’s men’s club rugby team is celebrating its 20th anniversary. However, the first mention of men’s rugby in the student-run newspaper, The Pendulum, came seven years before the team’s founding in 1995. In 1987, the men’s rugby team at Elon was a small organization under a parent team, the Dan-river rugby club based out of Danville, Virginia. Elon team members travelled to Virginia to practice with the Dan-river team and a few Elon students even played in several of Dan-river’s matches. Unfortunately, the Elon rugby team could not get a $400 fee to cover spring dues in 1987 from the college; after this news, the men’s rugby team disappears from The Pendulum until 1995.Throughout its history, the men’s rugby team has consistently overcome a lack of experience with the sport, primarily because many students had no previous exposure to rugby before joining the team. Older players on the rugby team have taken charge of teaching the new players the basics since 1995. Despite this obstacle, the team has won their divisional league title in 1997 and the North Carolina state tournament consecutively in 2008 and 2009. Just as the men’s rugby team has grown in skill and notoriety over the years, its fan base has also grown considerably since the team’s inception. The state championship match in 2008 was attended by over 400 Elon fans.One of the most notable records of the men’s rugby team comes from a series of articles in The Pendulum by freshman rugby player Jay Voelker. He provided a personal look at the men’s rugby team through his weekly article about his experiences as a new player on the team. Running from September 13, 2001 to November 15, 2001, Voelker’s series detailed an entire season of men’s rugby. This snapshot of the team displayed the incredible team unity which coincides with references to rugby over and over again.

For more information and to access the student newspaper online, check out http://www.digitalnc.org/newspapers/elon-university-student-newspaper/.

Rugby team fights to exist. Elon, NC: The Pendulum. 2 December 1987. Belk Library Archives and Special Collections, Elon University, Elon, NC.

Elon tackles rugby. Elon, NC: The Pendulum. 2 March 1995. Belk Library Archives and Special Collections, Elon University, Elon, NC.

Men’s rugby team, late 1990s. Photographs, EUA028. Belk Library Archives and Special Collections, Elon University, Elon, NC.

Men’s Rugby wins league; falls one short of Sweet 16. Elon, NC: The Pendulum. 8 April 1999. Belk Library Archives and Special Collections, Elon University, Elon, NC.

The rugby diaries: team limps into tourney. Elon, NC: The Pendulum. 15 November 2001. Belk Library Archives and Special Collections, Elon University, Elon, NC.

Successful memories spur on rugby team. Elon, NC: The Pendulum. 24 September 2008. Belk Library Archives and Special Collections, Elon University, Elon, NC.

Elon College’s Finest Hour: Convocation with Lady Margaret Thatcher

Julia Mueller
April 2, 2015

Thatcher_Margaret_1995_BlogOn April 28, 1995, Lady Margaret Thatcher spoke at Elon College’s Spring Convocation. The theme of the event was academic excellence, community service, and philanthropy.  Lady Thatcher discussed the purpose of universities in her speech titled “The Challenges Facing the 21st Century” and encouraged individuality among students.  She was critical of communism, President Clinton, the separation of church and state, educational trends, and welfare.  While some in the audience disagreed with her political stances or thought the event was too political, many were impressed by the conviction of her opinions.    Continue reading

Elon’s First Library: The Reading Room

Randall Bowman
August 1, 2014

Library Reading Room in the Administration Building, circa 1909

Library Reading Room in the Administration Building, circa 1909

Elon’s very first library was a far cry from the libraries of today.  It wasn’t even a separate building like Carlton, McEwen, or Belk Libraries.  According to George Troxler, in his book From a Grove of Oaks: The Story of Elon University, “…the library and reading room occupied two adjoining rooms on the second floor of the college building.”  It served the college for thirty-three years, from 1890 to 1923.  Along with most of the college’s book collection, both rooms in the Old Main Administration Building were incinerated in the 1923 fire that destroyed this building.  Continue reading

Tornado touchdown at Elon–June 1989

Katie Nash June 27, 2014

Mooney building and storm damage, June 1989

Mooney building and storm damage, June 1989

As thunderstorms pass through Alamance County and the Elon area this summer, let’s take a look back at a fierce storm that damaged a large part of campus in June of 1989. Around 7:15pm on June 16, 1989 a tornado-like storm touched down on Elon’s campus, causing havoc and damage to the grounds and buildings. There was over $150,000 worth in damages, power outages, and numerous trees were uprooted. The summer of 1989 had already included a lot of rain fall, and in June the Elon area experienced numerous tornado warnings and watches.  The tornado-like storm that struck campus came without much warning and lasted for about 15 minutes, with about 50-70 mile per hour wind gusts.  Continue reading

West Dorm as Summer Resort in 1909

Katie Nash May 21, 2014

West Dorm, early 1910s

West Dorm, early 1910s

As the campus prepares for commencement exercises on May 24, 2014, we can’t forget about all the history and interesting stories that have involved West Residence Hall since it opened on campus in the fall of 1906. As the campus community and guests enjoy the shade and cool breezes under the oaks and facing West Residence Hall during commencement, here’s an interesting story about West during the summer of 1909. Here’s to the beginning of summer!  Continue reading