One woman’s mission to bring Star Wars to New College

Editor’s note: During the summer, New College News will feature selected student blogs that focus on the New College experience.

By Kallie Delis

Kallie Delis brought Yoda and Chewbacca to campus from far, far away for the second year of Star Wars celebrations on campus.
Kallie Delis brought Yoda and Chewbacca to campus from far, far away for the second year of Star Wars celebrations on campus.

I have been a massive Star Wars fan since way back in first grade. I’ve been to Star Wars Weekends, Star Wars in Concert, Star Wars Celebrations … It has always been a huge source of personality and passion for me, and I was hoping to bond with people over the franchise when I got to college. I thought there would at least be a Star Wars club at New College, but I found no such thing when I got to campus.

I found fellow fans in some of my classes, and I started a yearlong trend of only wearing Star Wars shirts to my Elementary Ancient Greek class, which met three times a week. My friend Bob was my faithful partner in crime on that mission, and he wore Star Wars shirts in solidarity. I also incorporated somewhere around 12 Star Wars quotes into my first speech for the Toastmasters club, which I read during our club’s charter party!

Essentially, I had a lot of Star Wars love to express and not much of an outlet to do so. Luckily, my participation in the SuccessQuest Living Learning Community led to a great opportunity. The staff member who ran the LLC allowed me to host an event during the spring semester. She was a big Star Wars fan, too, and we had bonded over our love of the movies.

I narrowed it down to four events over the course of two days. On the first day (May 4th, of course!), I hosted a crafts table during lunch at the Hamilton Center. We made popsicle stick lightsabers and wrote our names in Aurebesh (the Star Wars basic alphabet). There were plenty of stickers to decorate with, too. Later that day, I hosted a trivia contest during dinner. The winners received stuffed animal toys, like Chewbacca and Yoda.

I arranged a lightsaber duel the next day. I coordinated with a professor and his thesis student, both of whom had experience with the sport of fencing. They used plastic lightsabers to battle each other, and they trained the rest of us using balloon swords (aka training lightsabers). You always have to be on the lookout for liabilities, as a good Jedi should. The two-day celebration culminated with a screening of “Rogue One,” which was the most recent Star Wars film at the time.

While I had to roll with the punches sometimes (sound and volume issues, rain starting about 10 minutes into the outdoor showing, etc), it was a fun end to a great two-day celebration. I was so proud to have pulled it off, especially as a first year who didn’t feel very self-assured. Once I became an RA, I realized that I could continue the tradition with more organization, purpose, and additional hands on deck. It’s a lot easier to throw a more exciting event when you aren’t the only one working on it!

Moral of the story: if you aren’t seeing something that you want to see on campus, you can make it a reality. Since I’ve been at New College, I have been trying my hardest to ensure that the on-campus Star Wars celebration is something that lives on once I’m gone. That is one of the marks that I want to leave behind. You, too, can have just as much of an influence, as long as you set your mind to it. On a small campus like this, it’s easy to have a big impact.

— Kallie Delis is an intern in the Office of Communications and Marketing.

Located in Sarasota, New College of Florida has educated intellectually curious students for lives of great achievement since its founding in 1960. As the State of Florida’s designated honors college, New College provides an exceptional education that transforms students’ intellectual curiosity into personal accomplishment. The 110-acre campus on Sarasota Bay is home to more than 800 students and 80 full-time faculty engaged in interdisciplinary research and collaborative learning. New College offers nearly 40 areas of concentration for undergraduates and a master’s degree program in Data Science.

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