Performers Play To Safer Student Body


By Erin Shanahan, Diana Nelson, Amina Bhatti and Ashley Katusa

Students partied responsibly at this year’s Spring Weekend festivities, much to administrative relief. In contrast to Spring Weekends and Halloweens in the past, which occasionally saw more than ten transports per night, there were only four alcohol transports according to Kimberly Russell, the director of Residential Life and assistant dean of students. This year’s weekend featured speaker was former Olympic star Shawn Johnson, DJ Sliink, indie pop duo Matt and Kim and famed comedian Aidy Bryant.
For administration, the student behavior was a welcomed break from traditionally hectic ones.

“Overall, we were all pleased to see that students did seem to make better decisions this year than in some previous years,” said Russell.
Fordham Public Safety had similar praise to share regarding the behavior at this year’s Spring Weekend.

“I think our students acted as very responsible adults this past weekend,” said John Carroll, vice president of Public Safety. “In past years, we’ve had some rough Spring Weekends but this year’s was one of the best I’ve seen.”

“So many students and departments work so hard to make Spring Weekend a success that it’s nice to see students able to safely enjoy the events instead of worrying about their health and safety,” said Russell.

Johnson kicked off the festivities with a lecture in McGinley Ballroom. Shawn Johnson won a gold medal and three silver medals at the age of 16 in the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, China. She also appeared on “Dancing with the Stars” as a contestant a year later, the youngest contestant at the time at age 17.

At the lecture series, Johnson discussed her current work and how it was influenced by her experience at the Olympics.

“I coach, mentor, I do public speaking, I work with CEOs of different companies. But from the second I finished the Olympics, in all this chaos surrounding me in opportunities and endorsements, I had a completely different outlook [than if I had not had my Olympic experience],” she said

Johnson also said she felt pressure from society and media outlets to win gold in the Beijing Olympics. After winning silver in all-around women’s gymnastics in the summer of 2008, she faced a media storm focusing on her loss rather than congratulating her silver medal.

However, Johnson said she felt like a winner in her heart after her performance, even more so than when she won gold in the balance beam competition that same summer.

“The lesson I learned in Beijing was … being successful [comes through] doing what you love,” she said.

After winning three silvers and a gold medal in 2008, Johnson decided not to participate in the 2012 Olympics and instead turned to building the life she has now. She is newly married, attends Vanderbilt University where she majors in business and has hopes of running some great businesses in the future.

Wajiha Khan, FCRH ’16, said that Johnson “seemed like a funny and genuine person who had great advice for anyone who wants to follow their dream.”

Last year, Brandon Stanton, creator of the famous Humans of New York blog and best-selling book of the same name, gave the guest lecture before Spring Weekend.

On Friday, DJ Sliink took over the Lombardi Center. Sliink, a native of New Jersey, began his career in Newark’s party spaces before moving to international culture hotspots like London, Paris, Milan and Oslo. He also received mainstream attention from MTV, SPIN, Vice and more.

The next morning, Matt and Kim, an indie-pop duo hailing from Brooklyn, New York, performed on Martyr’s Lawn.

Matt Johnson and Kim Schifino made a return trip to Fordham, where they played at Rodrigues’s Coffee House back in 2007. The two formed the group Matt and Kim in 2004. Since then, they have released top hits including “Daylight” and “It’s Alright.”

Rodrigues’s also hosted the Battle of the Bands, in which students performed to try to nab a spot opening for the headliner at the Spring Weekend concert. This year, Drowsy Joy, an alternative indie band, cinched the spot and opened for Matt and Kim.

In 2015, Twenty One Pilots, an indie popduo similar to Matt and Kim, headlined at the Spring Weekend concert. They hail from Columbus, Ohio, and a year ago, they earned their first number one album on the Billboard Top 200 list.

“The atmosphere at the concert was amazing,” Anthony Law, FCRH ’18 said. “Everyone seemed really excited and crazy.”

Even Matt and Kim commented on the vibe at the concert.

“We know that Fordham likes to get weird,” Matt said.

Some students, unfamiliar with Matt and Kim’s music, were pleasantly surprised with the performance.

“I was genuinely surprised with Matt and Kim’s performance,” said Mario Merendino, FCRH ’18. “Their music was catchy and upbeat and they really engaged with the audience. Matt and Kim are great live performers.”

After the concert, students prepared for RHA’s Under the Tent event. This year’s theme for Under the Tent was “Caught in the Cosmos.”

When the theme was released, RHA Executive Programmer, Haley Hauge, GSB ‘18, described the theme as “simplistic but edgy,” “ultramodern” and “future sleek.”

This year’s theme was inspired by a recommendation RHA received from the survey sent out at the start of the semester.

According to Hauge, RHA received an overwhelming number of suggestions related to space, Star Wars and the future. Several different themes were proposed to the RHA general board, and “Caught in the Cosmos” received overwhelming support.

Students wore semi-formal to formal attire featuring cutouts as well as whites, blues, purples, metallic, grays and black colors to match the theme.
The tent this year focused on lighting as well as the ceiling of the tent. Fun lights were displayed on the roof of the tent over the dance floor. In addition, the tent featured an LED wall.

“I think the LED wall was a really great addition to this year’s event that fit incredibly well with the theme,” said current RHA president Timothy Bouffard, FCRH ’16. “I couldn’t have asked for a better Under the Tent to call my last.”

Comedian Aidy Bryant closed out the weekend in Leonard Theatre at Fordham Preparatory School.

Two student openers started the show, Sam Koll, FCRH ’16 and Stephen Kipp, FCRH ’18, winners of Fordham’s Last Comic Standing. Randy Yyphax, who has appeared on “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon,” opened for Bryant.

Bryant graduated from Columbia College, toured with the musical improv group Baby Wants Candy and then was approached by Second City. She has performed with iO Chicago, The Second City and the Annoyance Theatre.
She made her debut as a featured player on “Saturday Night Live” in 2012 and was promoted to a repertory player during her second season on the show.

Bryant has made appearances on programs such as “Broad City,” “Documentary Now!,” “The Awesomes” and “Girls.” Recently she had a recurring role as Alice in the Louis C.K. series “Horace and Pete.”

“Your campus makes Hogwarts look like a piece of trash,” Bryant said to open the show.
In addition, she discussed her first gig: a yoga show for children. She also described her most stressful moment at SNL, when she hugged Dennis Rodman by wrapping her arms around his waist.

Aidy spoke about her childhood and the struggles of growing up, ranging from topics like pooping her pants on Christmas morning to her childhood diary,which she later shared with the audience.

Bryant also called two freshmen onto the stage, who read a college love scene script she wrote. They slow danced while Aidy sang her version of Fordham’s fight song. She answered questions about Fordham, and performed some characters, including her famous Adele impression.

Fordham students gave positive reviews for this year’s Spring Weekend comedians.

“At first I didn’t know what to expect, but once the first two student stand up-comedians came out, I was more excited, especially because they were really good,” said Paola Joaquin Russo, FCRH ’17. “I obviously really enjoy Aidy Bryant, but Stephen Kipp’s set had some very funny moments,” said Paola Joaquin Russo, FCRH ’17.

Fordham’s Campus Activities Board hosted the show, which drew 1,000 students, filling nearly every single seat in the theater.

“CAB’s Comedy Committee was very happy with the turnout. This is the first time in three years that we’ve had to open the higher levels of the Prep theater in order to accommodate the students,” said Loretta “Tots” Malloy, comedy co-chair of CAB, FCRH ’16.

Malloy felt that the students seemed to enjoy both openers, Sam Koll and Stephen Kipp, in addition to Aidy’s opener, Randy Syphax.L Mally was also happy with the students’ reception of “‘Lil’ Baby Aidy.”

“As Aidy said, Fordham students were clearly a very generous audience, and it was great to see how well they responded to every comedian,” said Malloy.

Last year featured Jamie Lee, a comedian who appeared “Girl Code.”