Maroon and white lit up Pardee Hall last Sunday at Lafayette College. This main academic building on its campus showcased their school colors to kick off the week before the historic Lehigh-Lafayette Rivalry game as members of their football team handed out hot chocolate to students.
Several Lafayette seniors shared their thoughts about the events surrounding The Rivalry game, happening on their turf for their first time with a full-capacity crowd due to previous COVID-19 restrictions. The last time the game occurred in Easton was 2018.
Lafayette senior Annika Murray is looking forward to not having to travel for the game.
“I live off campus and have friends and family come,” Murray said. “Also, (I am excited) just not having to take a bus and being able to show off our campus because it’s so beautiful.”
Murray is on the swim team at Lafayette, which has a meet against Lehigh on Nov. 18 – the night before the football game.
“We’ve been preparing for this all season, and it’s kind of like our Super Bowl,” Murray said. “It’s really fun to not only get to compete with my team, but then the next day we also have off from practice, so it’s a huge celebration of all our hard work and school pride.”
Lafayette senior Juliana Littley said she is ready to enjoy Lafayette-sponsored events and spend time with family and friends.
She said there will be a Lafayette Food Truck Rally and Beer Garden the day of the game. Littley will be spending time with her family there this weekend.
Lafayette’s Student Movement Against Cancer organization (SMAC) hosts an event every year where students get to “SMAC” the “Lehigh Car.”
“You donate money to a cancer organization and get a chance to take a sledgehammer to an old car, basically symbolizing Lehigh and how we are going to crush them in the football game,” Littley said.
Lafayette students also make banners on bed sheets with clever lines about Lehigh, just like the rivalry-themed banners about Lafayette on and around Lehigh’s campus.
Overall, Lafayette students seemed excited to celebrate, regardless of the game’s outcome.
“I am just excited to see everyone, see my Lehigh friends and just enjoy the tradition because it’s a fun day no matter what,” Murray said.
Lafayette senior Martin Vanhaelst is excited because he thinks many Lafayette seniors do not have a frame of reference for what to expect.
The last two rivalry games Vanhaelst attended were at Lehigh.
“As long as everyone gets to participate and have a good time, we are happy,” Vanhaelst said.
Although he is anticipating having a good time, Vanhaelst also felt bittersweet about his last time experiencing The Rivalry as students.
“I think it’s going to hit me at some point that this is our last Laf-Lehigh with all my senior friends,” Vanhaelst said. “But the tradition for me is more about being with all my friends and being proud of the school that we represent.”