May 19, 2023 | FEATURES | By Brett LeVan
One of Colorado College’s most notable traditions, Classy Wednesday, started in 2009 in Loomis Hall, with two randomly paired freshman roommates, Rachel Gips ’13 and Lauren Schneider ’13 and their group of friends, including Zach Atchinson ’13.
Gips studied sociology at CC, and now resides in her hometown of Portland, Maine. Schneider also studied sociology at CC, and is originally from Santa Fe, N.M. but now resides in Washington D.C. Atchinson, originally from the D.C. area, studied economics at CC, and now resides in Denver, Colo.
The first Classy Wednesday was hosted in Gips and Schneider’s double room in Loomis Hall which Gips said was perhaps the smallest double room in the building. Classy Wednesday started as an excuse to dress up in “real clothes,” Gips said. Now, students frequently go out in “party flair” to themed parties.
The first time Gips and Schneider hosted, they texted their friend group chat and invited everyone to come over in dress clothes. However, Gips said that eventually the party got too big for their double room, and it was then hosted in two forced triples near each other in Loomis Hall.
Classy Wednesdays became an open-door policy with the expectation that it was always happening. Gips shared while laughing, “Wednesdays were a quieter night, not once we started Classy.”
The group liked the idea of having something to do on a quieter night, like Wednesday, Atchinson said. Sometimes Classy Wednesday was hosted as a pregame if other parties were happening on campus, but “there were definitely weeks where it was its own party and that was what was going on Wednesday night.”
Classy Wednesday was just another excuse for their friends to get together mid-week. The tradition of getting dressed up was just an added benefit; some of the guys wore tweed hats, and “some people definitely wore suits,” said Gips.
Party guests didn’t necessarily wear tuxedos, but a tie was frequently worn. “It was like the only time I really wore a tie in college,” Atchinson shared. It was never required to dress up for Classy because in the beginning it was more just for laughs.
The class of 2013 was a close class already, Gips explained, and when they started living in off campus housing, Classy Wednesday started expanding to other groups. Gips said, it soon became a “Who’s going to Classy tonight?” kind of event. Then freshmen started showing up. Then a lot of people started joining. Gips said it was always her friend group that participated in it, but as the years went on it was one or two houses that would frequently host it.
Atchinson remembers there being a few off-campus houses that regularly hosted parties, both on the weekends and on weekdays, such as 922 Weber St., 928 Weber St. on Yampa Field, and many of the houses on the block of 1101 Weber St.
As well as Arthur House, which Atchinson and Gips both lived in sophomore year. Arthur House transitioned to substance-free housing in 2011. And “the Twamp,” which was also a house well-known for its parties while Atchinson, Schneider, and Gips were students at CC.
It was unclear whether Classy Wednesday would continue after the class of 2013 graduated. There were other parties hosted with new freshmen coming to CC each year. The possibility of Classy Wednesday fizzling out was quite possible, but the impact created in 2009 was strong.
Atchinson said, “[Classy Wednesday] kind of came up with us…it wasn’t something the whole school jumped on immediately but as we kind of kept it going there would be new classes coming in and they’d kind of see it as the fabric of the campus social life.”
Neither Gips nor Atchinson expected Classy Wednesday to become what it is today, but when told that Classy Wednesday is still very much a part of the party scene 10 years later, Atchinson said, “it brings me such joy to know that it is still going on, because it was one of those things where it was like ‘well this is our baby, and we’re going to say goodbye to it now and I hope it spreads its wings and flies.’”
While the Twamp is not as well-known as it once was, and while the influence of Yik Yak on CC’s party culture is ever present, students today are keeping the legacies of Gips, Schneider, Atchinson, and their whole friend group very much alive. In honor of the class of 2013, let us all continue to party on Wednesdays and dress up in black-tie attire.