With the advent of the new semester, the Senior Seminar turns its attention to Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, marking the return of a popular campus tradition: the Senior Russian Tea Party. On Monday evening, prior to the semester’s first seminar, Head Librarian Richena Curphey (’02) hosted the popular event on the second floor of St. Bernardine of Siena Library.

The California campus began holding the annual event years ago under the direction of Miss Curphey’s predecessor, Viltis Jatulis, after a benefactor gifted the Library with an antique Russian samovar — a copper urn used for heating water and serving tea. The Tea Party carries on every year, faithfully attended by seniors looking for a fun night of community.

This year, seniors bedecked in Russian-styled clothing (some with fur hats, others with shawls and boas) streamed into the party, where they were greeted with biscuits, cookies, raisins, and jam. (Some Russian teas are traditionally served mixed with jam.) They then chose from a wide selection of teas, ranging from classic black to fruit-flavored herbals. Librarians dressed in black served the attending students and offered help and conversation. Contributing to the décor, rare copies of Russian literature were displayed alongside vintage Russian records.

The party swelled with rich conversations, seniors discussing theses, their plans following graduation, and catching up with winter vacation just behind them. Bright faces smiled and laughed, the music of good friends. The evening came gently to its conclusion, and off the students went to Seminar and The Brothers Karamazov.