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Elon showcases student talents

Kris Moody / Reporter

This year, the Student Undergraduate Research Forum (SURF) won't be the only opportunity for students to display their talents and achievements.  In addition to the annual event, there will be a weeklong celebration dedicated to student involvement in the arts.

From April 24-29, Celebrate Student Achievement in Academics and the Arts week will feature art exhibitions, plays, a film festival, dance performances, music performances and much more.  This will be the first year of Celebrate's existence, but it is expected to flourish into an annual tradition at Elon.

"I think this is an event that in five years will be thought of like College Coffee," said Rex Waters, associate dean of Students.  "People will think that this has always been at Elon."

The idea for the event was sparked by Harvard University's program Arts First.  Since 1992, Arts First has allowed undergraduates and graduates to present their accomplishments in the arts.  Steven House, dean of Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences attended the program one year and dreamed of creating a similar celebration at Elon.

House and various department chairs worked together to establish a starting ground.  They noticed that SURF acknowledged the research abilities of students and the ODK award ceremony honored their leadership skills, but the faculty desired to expand the appreciation to include accomplishments in academics and the arts.

"The thing we really wanted to do was involve the students," House said.

Even the logo, designed by senior Laura Somerville, featured the talent of Elon students that characterizes the nature of Celebrate.

Students were also instrumental in the design and editing of the program of events and the preparations for the Friday afternoon student performances.

The attention that has been given to Celebrate indicates the growth of the arts.  With increasing participation in the various denominations of the arts, Celebrate provides the opportunity for further expansion.

"Hopefully this will encourage more participation," Waters said.  "It could have a very powerful impact."

Waters stressed the fact that Celebrate is about bringing the community together.  The wide range of presentations offers something that will appeal to everyone.  It's a chance to experience gratification for all the hard work put forth by students.  House said that he would like to see the towns of Elon, Burlington and the surrounding area embrace the program in the future and contribute to its growth.

"We all invest a great deal at this university," Waters said.  "This is a way to enjoy the fruits of the labor."

Elon is one of the few institutions in the nation to develop such a program.  Colleges who annually have a similar celebration have experienced great success.  Celebrate provides an opportunity for Elon to rival the achievements of well-respected universities and applaud the talents of distinguished students.

Contact Kris Moody at or 278-7247.

Jessica Frizen / Photographer

Celebrate will highlight the artistic accomplishments of students. Sophomore Hailey Stebbins shows her self portait to her digital art class.


Alyse Knorr / Photographer

Sweet Signatures is scheduled to perform for Celebrate festivities.

Jessica Frizen / Photographer

Sophomore Ben DeLoose prepares for his presentation on Tuesday of "The Dystopian City in Film."