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Oxford College hosts current and former students at inaugural Spring Festival

Oxford College’s first-ever Spring Festival brought juniors and seniors from Emory’s Atlanta campus back to Oxford on March 18 to celebrate the Oxford community and reunite with current students, faculty and staff.

The event drew a crowd of nearly 900 students, faculty and staff. For the first time in school history, four consecutive classes joined each other on campus. Students enjoyed carnival and board games, fun food and treats, commemorative swag, and the chance to connect — or reconnect — with faculty and staff.

“Our first-ever Spring Festival was a huge success because Oxford’s juniors and seniors came back to campus in force,” said Doug Hicks, Dean of Oxford College. “It was great to see four years of Oxford students together, all eager to see friends and mentors and to celebrate Oxford. The strong bonds of our community were on full display, and it was clear that our students — those still here and those who returned for the day from Atlanta — have a deep connection to this special place and the faculty and staff who have supported them in their academic journeys.” 

Students were welcomed with a Coke toast from Hicks and enjoyed a variety of entertainment options in the Student Center and library. The Student Center featured food stations, games and vintage clothing, as well as a performance from Nishana, Oxford’s Bollywood/hip-hop fusion dance team. The Library housed arcade games, classic board games, a fondue station — and another space for students to socialize. 

“Many juniors and seniors now on the Atlanta campus did not get to experience Oxford in the same way that past students might have due to the pandemic,” said Joe Moon, dean of campus life. “We were happy to welcome them back and give them another opportunity to engage with the campus and each other in a fresh and exciting way. Like all our alums, they will always have a home at Oxford.”

The highlight of the afternoon was a student-faculty-staff mixer held in the dining hall. Juniors and seniors filled in their Oxford mentors on what they’ve been up to in Atlanta and enjoyed the time to casually catch up and network. 

“Being back on the Oxford campus and seeing my fellow peers, current students and my former professors and supervisors was such a heart-warming experience,” said Afsha Hossain 20Ox 22C, who was back at Oxford for both Spring Festival and the Muslim Student Association’s 30th anniversary celebration later in the evening. “It felt just like the old days we spent at the dining hall and Student Center — with friends and watching the same faces of Nishana perform. I loved catching up with my favorite professor Dr. [Sarah] Fankhauser and seeing my Res Life Coordinator Claudia [Zanjanchian]! It felt like home."

After a day of almost non-stop rain — with students warm, sheltered and occupied in the various festival venues — the dark skies finally cleared near the end of the afternoon, and all were able to walk along the Quad and enjoy Oxford’s beautiful grounds. 

“Our students are the foundation of our community, and we try to show them that every day, but we also wanted a grand gesture,” Hicks said. “We are at our best when we all come together and support each other, and we were able to do that with Spring Festival. We can’t wait to do it all again next year.”

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