Annette Diorio, Vice President of Campus Life at Lafayette College, talks about how the other school celebrates rivalry week. The Leopards call it the Lafayette-Lehigh game instead of Lehigh-Lafayette. (Courtesy of Annette Diorio)

Q&A: What Rivalry Week is like for the Leopards


There are two sides to every story, as there are two sides to every rivalry. 

The Brown and White spoke with Vice President of Campus Life at Lafayette College, Annette Diorio regarding what the Lehigh-Lafayette Rivalry looks at our rival school. 

Diorio is responsible for supervising student life at Lafayette outside the classroom. 

“It’s Lafayette-Lehigh here, just so we’re clear,” Diorio said. 

Q: As the vice president for Campus Life what have you been doing to prepare for Lehigh-Lafayette?

Diorio: Our staff has been engaged in planning rivalry week activities, those range from the ever popular but sort of less formal sheet decorating activities that I think both schools engage in, as well as a hypnotist this week. (There are) some large scale programming things on Friday night that students can participate in and really just kind of getting students kind of hyped up for the game. We have a tailgate brunch at Lafayette’s campus before the buses leave on Saturday morning, hoping people will come together and celebrate.

Q: Would you consider this week to be a big deal on Lafayette’s campus?

Diorio: I think because the game has such history and is actually one of the things that makes both of our institutions unique in a way and brings us into sort of a category unto ourselves, these kinds of programming weeks are special for students. This one seems to carry a little bit of extra energy and a little bit of extra fun with it.

Q: What have been some of the best banners you’ve seen so far?

Diorio: I haven’t seen any of this year yet because I haven’t been walking around. But in the past years, there are funny ones, the ones that poke fun at our own kind of institutional operations. We had a couple about various technology programs that colleges use. I don’t go for the ones that are a little bit more raw. I like the ones that are genuinely funny without being obscene, that is my lane that I like to live in.

Q: What is Lafayette’s environment like this week?

Diorio: For the college it’s interesting, we’re heading into obviously break and actually shortly thereafter break finals. I do think that students are feeling the end of semester coming upon them. I think that coupled with the energy of the game and all of the things that surround it makes it feel a little bit festive, a little bit like a long run into the break.

Q: Have you spoken to any students about Rivalry Week and how they feel about it this year?

Diorio: I know that I was with the activities forum a couple weeks ago when they were talking about the programming and they were excited about it. Just generally I think students are excited for things that bring them together, sort of post-COVID disruptions. We’re still in a little bit of COVID disruption in the way we operate. But things like the activities in the atrium (student center) this Friday will have students together physically in the same space. They seem really excited about those. 

Q: Do you think that because there was no traditional Lehigh-Lafayette week last year that it’ll make students more excited this year and have a larger turnout at events?

Diorio: Well, we did have the game in April, your students couldn’t attend unfortunately because of COVID, but we had a number of Lafayette students who attended the game. It was probably one of the best attended events for us for the spring, maybe short of our outdoor spring concert at the very end of the semester. I just think everybody’s excited to do things together. And while I think we sort of take the rivalry a little tongue in cheek, we really don’t hate each other’s institutions. It is something that brings us together and I think students look forward to that. 

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