We Didn’t Start the Fire

Nancy Ng

The entire Colgate community is invited to attend what promises to be a beautiful ceremony in Colgate Memorial Chapel to induction this afternoon at 4:30 p.m. The event will celebrate the formal induction of 26 new members from the Class of 2006 into the Konosioni Senior Honor Society. “The ceremony is really a chance for us to pass down our traditions to those we are inducting into the society,” Konosioni co-President senior Dave E. Thomas said. “It will be traditional, but not without a surprise on Friday. We will each share something that we know about each inductee so that will make it a little more personal.” Part of the significance of the event is the tradition it has followed, which date back almost seven decades. For those who remember the ceremony that symbolically welcomed them into the Colgate community during their first-year, the initial part of the induction ceremony will seem familiar. The procession, led by current Konosioni members robed and carrying torches, will begin at the Hall of Presidents due to construction near Taylor Lake, proceed up the Persson Hall stairs and wind around the academic quad before making its way into the chapel. Inductees will enter through an archway created by current members, as they had done as first-years during orientation. After the ceremony, a reception will be held downstairs for participants to meet, converse and sign the Konosioni book. Fifteen women and eleven men were chosen by their Konosioni peers for their demonstrated commitment to serving the community and preserving the rich traditions of Colgate. Inductees include Aubrey Graham, Becky Armstrong, Chelsea Swank, Christine Duncan, Darcy Benedict, Jessie Slenker, Erin Grundy, Jessica Winans, Krissy Williams, Lera Nichols, Mary Acoymo, Megan Sobel, Naveen Hussain, Michelle Cooper, Tiffany Chu, Elias Shakkour, Jameson Hyde, Jeff Galletly, John Brooks, Michael Carrington, Richard LeBeau, Rizwan Chowdhry, Rodney Mason, Ronnie Millen, Ryan Fogle and Sunil Santoni-de-Reddy. “Instead of looking at it like this member did this and this member did that, another way to look at it is each member we’ve selected is completely dedicated to one aspect at Colgate or the Hamilton community,” co-President of Konosioni Dave Birken said. “Together, they create a group of really diverse people who have touched Colgate across the board.” The new class includes Link Leaders, Resident Advisors, athletes, Greek members, Office of Admission volunteers and those involved with the COVE and Outdoor Education programs. “It’s a great opportunity to interact with people on campus who are other leaders they might not have known before,” Birken said, “just because their activities are so diverse.” Thomas concurred that it was a great opportunity for members involved in completely different activities to coordinate events that integrate their respective groups. The duties of Konosioni do not include simply preserving old traditions but involve making new ones as well. The current class is training the new members in the knowledge and skills that will prepare them for their roles as members of Konosioni next year, something new for the group. Because the society is comprised of a completely new class every year, current members will immediately begin to take active roles in the society this semester to ensure that new members have a firm understanding of the purpose of Konosioni. This means not only attending meetings but also helping with the annual charity auction, which benefits non-profit organizations in Hamilton and the surrounding areas. Another new aspect that the Class of 2005 group has been working on is building connections between its network of alumni and current members, spanning a couple thousand members. “Konosioni has personally been more than I ever expected,” Birken said, as he reflected on his experience. “A lot of people see it as just an honor, but they don’t realize that it’s also a commitment. You’re not just receiving an award, you’re becoming part of a community that expects certain things from you and that you take an active role in.” Both presidents are pleased with the new class of 26 men and women and feel confident that Konosioni will be in good hands after they pass on their torches. “My advice to them is to enjoy themselves,” Thomas said. “This is a great opportunity for them to do as much as they want for the community. I hope that they are creative and do things they enjoy doing because I think that this would make them all the more successful.” Birken agreed. “I’m extremely excited about the new class,” he said. “I think they’re great people. Put together, they’re going to be an amazing group. My hope for them is that they are not only able to keep what we’ve done this year but also to add on to it – to really push Colgate in a new direction. So my advice to them is to get started.”