“Some 50,000 people braved Route 18 traffic and funneled onto free buses for the first-ever ‘Rutgers Day,’ an event that folded the already popular New Jersey Folk Festival and Ag Field Day into one massive, multi-campus event, adding hundreds of activities, from sports and cooking classes to science demonstrations and cultural programs.” So reports yesterday’s Star-Ledger, of the 25 April Rutgers Day mega-event.
And of course, Rutgers Classics was (quite literally) at the center of it all, on the steps and lawn of Brower Commons on the RU College Avenue Campus.
For the occasion, NYC designer Jessica Deschamps created from scratch a drop-dead line of Mycenaean, Greek & Roman couture for Rutgers student models. Plus a number of RU students, alumni/ae and friends rocked their own creations on a scarlet runway extending a full 60 Roman feet (some of those feet being vertical).
A sampling of original ancient designs by Jessica Deschamps
And that was just for starters. The men and women of the amazing Ludus Magnus Gladiatores, the planet’s top gladiatorial reenactment team, also more than made the scene, performing all day on the runway and-fully armed and swinging—in a makeshift arena. Members of Legio XX (Washington DC) and Legio XXIV (Philadelphia) further pumped up the authenticity factor.
An astonished crowd viewed five shows in all—including a jaw-dropping 1 PM gladiatorial “Live Steel” match, all in 84 degree weather. DJ Korenelius (a.k.a. Rutgers Classics acting chair T. Corey Brennan) spun the tunes and emceed the proceedings. The only thing missing, as one spectator observed, was a lion or two.
Thanks especially to the Sisters of the Rutgers Theta Tau Chapter of Alpha Chi Omega Sorority; NYC designer Jessica Deschamps; RU Classics assistant professor (and Undergraduate Director) Timothy Power and Administrator Kathryn Neal; Mr. Brian Beyer and the Latin students of Montgomery (NJ) High School, who made all the props for the day; RU Classics grad student Amy Bernard and the students of Green Brook (NJ) Middle School; Creative Director William Whelan (d-stroy advertising); and John J. Ebel Esq. plus each of the other men and women of LVDVS MAGNVS GLADIATORES.
Representing Rutgers (directly or indirectly) on the runway: Nicholas and Samuel Brennan; Victoria Carey’11; Diane Cerulli’09; Stephanie Chevanne; Alissa Coyne’09; Anastasia D’Amico’09; Rosemary Devine’12; Shayna Faraday’11; Cherrie Francisco’10; Ashley Garrison’09; Nathan Goldin’11; Mehreen Ismail’11; Stephanie Johnson’10; Robert Jordan’11; Jad Kaado’09; Niki Kothari’11; Avantika Khullar’10; Christen Marcinek; Kathleen Mullen’09; Rowena Errazo Naeseth’95 with Allen, Emma and Tyler Naeseth; Jennifer Perez’10; Christen Rafuse’10; Alexandra Sigona; Etel Sverdlov’10; Lirra Tolentino’10; and Mariame Zaid’11.
All these and many others were wonderfully helpful in making happen this fashion show and gladiatorial exhibition—a combination perhaps unique in world history.
For more images—and a three minute video—of the RU Classics Throwdown at Rutgers Day, look further…