The Class of 2023 gathered in advising groups on the steps of Phelps Stadium this past Sunday to attend Grit ’N Wit. Part of the Senior EBI Transitions program, Grit ’N Wit asked students to complete an obstacle course filled with mental puzzles and physical tasks. The program was intended to help students reconnect with old friends, meet new people, and spend time with each other during the first week of school.
Planning for the Senior EBI event began last winter, which included organizing food catering trucks, ordering the Transitions program’s yearly T-shirts, and reaching out to the Office of the Physical Plant (OPP) staff. Other faculty and campus staff members helped organize the event, including staff from Paresky Commons, the Athletics department, the Business Office, and the Dean of Students.
Senior Kiera Reidy ’23 felt that the event helped her interact with different people. Reidy appreciated this opportunity especially given that she was a new Upper last year, claiming the event allowed her to both delve deeper into her friendships and foster new ones.
“[I enjoyed] learning how to connect and collaborate with different people [who] you wouldn’t normally on a daily basis. I’m really happy that really early in our Senior year, we had an all-Senior event. I think it’s really important because I was a new Upper last year, so I don’t know many seniors, but it was nice just to get everyone there– and to recognize some faces,” said Reidy.
Fellow Senior Pierre ’23 echoed Reidy’s sentiments. They thought it was fun to see people who would not typically work together collaborating throughout the obstacle course. Similarly, they appreciated the opportunity for the Senior class to spend time with each other, separate from other grades.
“It was really fun seeing people in coordinated outfits from their advising [groups]. And it’s like, ‘wow, I didn’t think these people would ever coordinate, because they’re just random groups of people.’ I also really enjoyed watching people really work towards their goal,” said Pierre.
Alice Fan ’23 explained that she liked completing the obstacle course more than once, both with her friends and advising group. Fan also expressed her gratitude for Taylor Ware, the Associate Director of College Counseling and the coordinator of the event.
“I had a lot of fun at Grit ‘n Wit and really enjoyed spending time with my friends as we begin our Senior year. I completed the obstacle course twice — the first time with my advising group and the second time with my friends. It was more physically taxing than the first round, but it was all in the name of genuine joy and team bonding. A huge shoutout to Ms. Ware and the EBI team for hosting such an amazing event,” Fan wrote in an email to The Phillipian.
Despite their overall positive experience with the event, Pierre mentioned that the waiting times for various activities were longer than they would have liked. Regardless, they affirmed that they greatly enjoyed the activities.
“I know a lot of people had to wait a really long time to get into the event. So I think maybe trying to figure out a way to fix that… But that was really the only complaint, the food was really great. The people were great. The shirts are awesome. Like, it [was] all so awesome,” said Pierre.
According to Ware, although the program has changed since its origins, it still aims to be a space for class and advising-group bonding. Due to the new opening of school schedule implemented this academic year, more time has been allotted for community building than in years past.