Homerathon 2023: A Holy Cross Classics Tradition

Stacey Kaliabakos ‘23

Chief Opinions Editor

Two Classics majors, Ryan Wynn ’23 and Mary Whitney ’23, at the 2023 Homerathon Credit to Stacey Kaliabakos ‘23

On Friday, April 21, 2023, the Holy Cross Classics honors society Eta Sigma Phi hosted its annual Homerathon. Homerathon has been a yearly event since 2017 and is a time for Classics students to share their love for ancient Greek epic while simultaneously raising money for a good cause. 

Over the course of the day, students take turns reading from an epic of Homer for 30 minutes at a time on the Hoval. Before Homerathon begins, the members of Eta Sigma Phi vote on what epic to read. The goal is to make it through as much of the story as possible from the hours of 9 am to 5 pm. Originally, the Odyssey was read during the 2017 Homerathon, and this year, we had the opportunity to read from Homer’s other epic, the Iliad. In short, the Iliad is the story of the Greek hero Achilles and his role in the Trojan War, fought between the Greeks and Trojans. Although we only made it through 11 out of the 24 books of the Iliad, all of the students involved in the event were glad to have participated in such a long-standing tradition. 

Spreading our love for the Classics is not the only goal of Homerathon. Homerathon is always accompanied by an effort to raise money for a specific charity. In 2017, the charity was the Worcester-based Ascentria Care Alliance. Since then, we have elected to donate money to the  Jesuit Refugee Service (https://www.jrsusa.org/), an international Catholic organization whose mission is “to accompany, serve, and advocate on behalf of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons, that they may heal, learn, and determine their own future.” This organization aligns with not only the ideals of the College, adhering to our mission of “Men and women, for and with others,” but also us here in the Classics department, who care very much about the plight of refugees across the globe.

Overall, our eight hours of reading raised nearly $200 for the Jesuit Refugee Service. We also were fortunate enough to attract many passersby with our reading on the Hoval who elected to just sit down in the chairs outside of Hogan to enjoy the sunny weather and some Homeric epic. We were even able to answer some questions by students, visitors to the college, and professors about the Iliad and the Classics Department at Holy Cross in general. 

We were truly blessed with a successful Homerathon this year. As one of the co-Presidents of Eta Sigma Phi, I would like to thank all of those who took the time to stop by our table on the Hoval and donate to the Jesuit Refugee Service. I would also like to thank my fellow co-President, Zach Tympanick ‘23, for all of his help and hard work in organizing this event. Although we will not be here for next year’s Homerathon, I hope that you will look for Homer’s readers next spring and take the time to appreciate Greek epic and make a donation to the Jesuit Refugee Service. 

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