Greek Games at Barnard College
We are approaching the second year of the revival of the Barnard College Greek Games, a long-standing tradition that brings pride to our students. The Barnard College Greek Games is an historic tradition that celebrated the spirit and energy of the Barnard classes of 1906 to 1968. First held in 1903, and inspired by the athletic competitions of heroic Greece, the Greek Games celebrated the liberal scholarship on which Barnard College was founded. These Games continued to be held each spring until the 1960s, when they took a 50-year hiatus, until the revival in 2011.
The Greek Games began when the class of 1905, then sophomores, challenged the first-year class to a friendly competition. The students prepared choreographed Grecian dances and perfected their form for discuss throwing and hurdle jumping competitions. The games became the event of the year, every year, often with months of preparation. However, with the aggravated political atmosphere of the 1960s, protests and activism took precedence over preparing for Greek Games, as Barnard students began playing a more active role in the events of world at that time.
Decades later however, the rich history of the Greek Games maintains a special place within the larger history of our college. By reviving this beloved tradition, while translating the events into a more modern context, we hope to attempt to remember and celebrate the inspirational women of Barnard’s past. The Greek Games were an integral part of campus life for many of our alumnae and we hope that they will become an integral part of campus life today as well.
“The photos of women from Barnard’s past participating in the games have always been a constant reminder that as a student at a women’s institution I’m part of something bigger. I’m really excited that the return of the Greek Games will give us the chance to remember and honor the amazing Barnard women of the past,” one junior said about the revival. We hope to continue the legacy of the past for many years. #
Kirstyn Crawford is a student at Barnard College in New York.