by Sabrina Guilbeault ’18
“Wow, this is pretty surreal,” said a student in a sharp black tux as he helped his date step off a yellow bus that lead them to the Rhode Island Convention Center. “I can’t believe this is really SRW.”
SRW, or Senior Ring Weekend, is one of the traditions embedded into Providence College’s history, and is an occasion students look forward to since their freshmen year. Once known as Junior Ring Weekend, the event was moved to senior year to accommodate more students who study abroad, and has become the first official “kick-off” event celebrating the senior class.
“Being here for four years, I’ve always been exposed to SRW, and it was always exciting as an underclassmen to see the upperclassmen dressed up and geared up,” said Michael Izzo ’18. “When it came time for me to experience the night I had my expectations set quite high.”
The SRW Core worked for over a year to bring the event together, and kept details of the event under lock and key to add to the surprise and magic of the weekend. “I was super happy with how SRW played out,” said Anissa Latifi ’18, who was chair of the mass on Sunday. “It was incredible to see the events we’ve been talking about planning for the past year and a half to finally become something real.”
Friday brought strong winds and looming dark clouds, and Special Events Night, sometimes referred to as “Club Night” was set to take place on Slavin Lawn, but saw a change of venue to Peterson. Although the Class of 2018 may have been disappointed with the weather, but it’s grayness did not put a damper on the night itself.
“It took a lot of hands, and help, but I think it all came together nicely seeing as though we basically started from scratch on Friday morning,” said Michele Barricelli ’18, chair of the Special Events Night. She explained that she and her partner Lindsey Brestovansky ’18 put a lot of time and effort into deciding on a new floor plan that would work for the new venue, and delegated tasks that would help the event come together as quickly as possible.
“Without the help of Sharon Hay, the Student Activities task force, and the 2017 and 2018 cores, none of it would have been possible,” said Barricelli. “I am very proud of the event we were able to put on, and hope everyone understood the last minute change of plans and were still able to have a great time.”
“Club night was amazing,” said Izzo. “It seemed like everyone in Peterson was living in the moment and enjoying one another’s company.” Students agreed that the setup of Peterson was perfect for the nature of the event, and the music added to the fun atmosphere.
Formal night does always come with high expectations, especially as students are entering with high spirits from the night before. The Rhode Island Convention Center was chosen as the venue after the Core considered complaints about Twin Rivers Casino from the year before.
“At one point I overheard someone say, ‘Hey, let’s check out the casinos,’ and I’m pretty sure they thought we were at Twin Rivers,” said Caitlin Whitaker ’18. “It was so great to see everyone, though, and I’m glad I get to go to a school that does something as special as SRW.”
“Formal night was fun. I think I might have liked the previous night more,” said Izzo. He explained the dance floor was small and did not fit the whole grade. “All in all though, I enjoyed seeing my Friar Family together enjoying this time together before we all go off and become real adults.”
“It gave us all an excuse to dress up and enjoy a fun night out with friends,” said Ashleigh Arenas ’18. Part of the fun of SRW is the activity that is actually “not planned.” Getting ready in front of one mirror with your roommates, taking photos you will cherish forever on the front porches of the Eaton Street houses, or dancing to a song you forgot you loved so much are just some of the moments that can be taken away from the weekend.
For the first time, the SRW mass was held in Peterson. In the past the event took place in St. Dominic Chapel, which tended to get very overcrowded. “I was so happy to see us pull off the first ever SRW mass in Peterson,” said Latifi. It was so nice to be able to guarantee everyone who wanted one a seat for them and their parents in the mass that commemorates the ring celebration.”
Gabriella Sanchez ’18 explained that the mass was actually her favorite part of the weekend. “Father Shanley in his homily talked about how love is generous and our parents gave us the opportunity to attend Providence College and so many other sacrifices that we didn’t always deserve, and that really resonated with me,” she said.
“It was the first time I wasn’t selfishly thinking about how I looked or if I was having the best senior year ever, but just being grateful for my friends, family, and my education,” said Sanchez. “It was a chance to reflect on how I’ve grown in my time at PC and who I want to be when I walk across the stage in May and after.”
Barricelli echoed other students in saying that, in the end, it is the people that made the weekend so special. “Without my Friar Family this event would never have happened, and without my Friar Family I would have never had the chance to enjoy a night I had looked forward to for so long,” she said. “Whether you were part of the Friar Family that helped put SRW together, or the Friar Family who attended the event and made the night memorable, I am proud to be part of it.”