Last Saturday, the seniors of Thomas Aquinas College, California, hosted the first of the year’s dances, welcoming the freshmen to campus. Paying an ironic homage to the College’s founding 51 years ago, the seniors chose a 1970s theme for the night. Students congregated on the St. Gladys Patio beneath a disco ball, streamers, and lights. On the pillars nearby, groovy flowers and shapes brought the space to life.

“It’s pretty funky,” joked Jenny DeSalvo (’25). And it was a hit: Students arrived dressed as hippies, disco dancers, and movie stars. Between the décor and costumes, the scene was fun, flashy, and totally far out. Students in equal parts laughed at themselves and were awed by each other’s creativity.

To begin the night, the senior class hosted a live gameshow, in which some seniors played good-natured (and approved) caricatures of their favorite tutors. The angle? freshmen were chosen from the crowd to “pick their thesis advisors” after asking questions and hearing hilarious, mostly true anecdotes about the tutors. The crowd — most of the student body — howled with laughter.

Sophomores and juniors were then dismissed to clear the floor for the seniors and freshmen. The other classes would get their chance to dance later in the night. Until then, the newcomers and old timers spun across the patio, made small talk, and enjoyed each other’s company. When students weren’t dancing, many enjoyed snacks and refreshments nearby; others rested on couches brought out to furnish the patio. Once the clock struck 10:00, the other classes joined back in, and the dance ballooned to greater heights.

Other events of the night included line dancing, “dance trains,” and a limbo contest. One freshman said he and his friends were trying to see who could get in the most dances. “It’s my favorite way to meet people so far,” he said.

  • Two pose for a photo, one in striped sunglasses
  • Eight pose for a photo
  • Three pose for a photo
  • Two chat
  • Students chat and show off their 70s costumes
  • A group of students in 70s costumes
  • Three pose for a photo
  • Two present their skit, microphones in hand
  • The students watch the skit and applaud
  • The students dance under the strings of hanging lights
  • A student pair dancing
  • A student pair dancing
  • Five perform a skit, surrounded by seated students
  • Student couples dancing on Gladys patio