Welcome Back Weekend for Students a Success

Welcome Back Weekend drew crowds of students to the three events organized by the Student Government Association (SGA) programs board. The events ran Jan. 20-22, and included the 2011 comedy-drama film “50/50” in Cole Cinema, Hypnotist Tom Deluca, and the return of the band Pearl and the Beard to the campus.

The film “50/50” was nominated for two awards at the 69th Golden Globe Awards, and featured two very well known actors, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Adam Lerner, and Seth Rogan as his co-worker Kyle.

The film follows Adam as he discovers that he has a rare cancer and must undergo chemotherapy, finding that his chance of survival is 50 percent. Adam develops a strong relationship with his therapist Katherine, played by Anna Kendrick, and comically uses his illness to pick up women at the behest of Kyle. Through chemotherapy, Adam develops a new perspective on life through his interactions with other patients.

This emotionally driven film was well received by many students, according to SGA programs board member senior Anna Danz. The film had five showings throughout the weekend.

Welcome Back Weekend also featured Hypnotist Tom Deluca on Jan. 21 at 7:00 p.m. in St. Mary’s Hall. According to the St. Mary’s Website, Deluca earned a Masters Degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois and developed his hypnosis show while working as a therapist, focusing on hypnosis as a stress and burnout prevention program.

Sophomore Anuli Duru, one of students hypnotized on stage, recalled the experience as a surreal dream state.

“You felt awake but you felt like you were sleeping too,” Duru said. “In the beginning he had asked us to make ourselves as comfortable as possible and think of happy thoughts. I thought about sipping smoothies on beach next to my idol, Nicki Minaj. Then he told us to breath in and out deeply, which made me very sleepy. I remember some things like my friends, Peter Robertson barking at the crowd and Pooja Taneja pretending to be Tinker Bell. Yet for the most part, I had to find out from my friends what else had happened. Turns out, he had at one point told us that we were in our underwear, and everyone hid, except Aimee and me. I guess we aren’t shy.”

Another student who was successfully hypnotized, senior Peter Robertson, said his experience was similar to Duru’s.

“For me, when I first opened my eyes it was as though I were in some translucent bubble. Everything seemed fuzzy and muffled. I recall most everything he said and what I did; it’s difficult to explain my actions. It felt as though I were just doing. I ended up vigorously squeezing milk from a cow, leading the school in cheering on the St. Mary’s Locomotives, and taking on the guise of a spy attempting to assassinate the hypnotist. Afterwards, I didn’t feel well rested, as the hypnotist had said we would. If anything, I felt sleepier. The entire experience was wicked grand fun.”

Pearl and the Beard returned to St. Mary’s for their third performance, and played before a large crowd of students in St. Mary’s Hall Jan. 20.

“It was great, we had a good turn out” Danz said. “There were some a capella things going on that night and senior cocktail, but we still almost had a full house in St. Mary’s Hall. So considering that, I thought it was pretty good.They’re really quirky. Students have been saying they wanted them back, so we brought them back. When they left, they said that this was like their school, and they felt like the school’s band.”

“There wasn’t much publicity for it, because it was right when we all came back” Danz added. “Still, I think it was a successful Welcome Back Weekend.”

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