Philosopher George Santayana once said: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Learning about history and its intricacies is crucial, and DePauw’s continuously growing Classics Club might agree. I spoke with the current president of Classics Club, Will Hare ‘24, on the history of the organization, the current state of the club, and his hopes for the future.
Hare initially spoke about the club's history and how it came to be, along with the ambiguities about the club's first establishment:“I do not know who originally started the club; for all I know, the Classics club could have started ten years…or a hundred and ten years ago."
He also highlighted how classical studies served as one of the academic foundations of DePauw University and Asbury College, stating, "If you look at old documents, the college had a set schedule of what you were supposed to learn . . . If you didn't know anything about classical studies, you were screwed. So classical [studies] have been a part of DePauw quite literally…since the 1830s and the 1840s.”
"classical [studies] have been a part of DePauw quite literally…since the 1830s and the 1840s.”
Despite DePauw’s rich history in classical studies, the Classics Club lost momentum after the COVID-19 pandemic. However, Hare has been working to change that.
“A lot of the clubs like Classics Club kind of died down because of the COVID-19 pandemic, because more or less it's about being more academically active and involved. I've always been interested in history, and in high school, I took Latin classes, which got me more interested in classical history. And so, I thought I would take the initiative and join the Classics Club. And so we started off the club building up during COVID-19, trying to make it more interactive and more fun, less of a book club. This allowed people to be more active in classical academics as well as kind of have fun as well in the club.”
Now taking a more significant role as president, Hare spoke to his responsibilities within the club:“My main responsibility is making sure that everything is running as it should; I'm in charge, of course, being in contact with Professor Marthe Chandler, the main teacher-advisor for the Classics Club. I make sure I choose all the events that will happen, but of course, I get the rest of the executive board with what we're doing. I never will make a decision solely on my own. I don't think that's very ethical to do.”
Hare also added what’s coming up for Classics Club, explaining, “We'll have a few more events. We have one coming up with Professor Rebecca Schindler she will be talking about her summer trip dig in Italy . . . another speaker is coming up on Nov. 7 as well, so those sorts of things are kind of what Classics Club is about—trying to branch out and try and study anything that is classics-related.”
Hare also explained that the Classics Club is open to anyone with an interest in learning and being a part of the organization.
“There's no limitation to whether or not you would want to be in classics,” Hare shared.“For or me . . again, like it all started because I just had a generalneral history ov . . . truly it's not about being just a classics major or simply just being archaeologist major. You can be any major that relates towards history and still have a love of classics. Even being in the theater, you might be able to do a play on old stories of Homer or the Iliad. You might have some reference towards it, and still be involved in classics. Classics touches a very broad range of things, but the study itself has a mass impact on modern-day culture."
"Classics touches a very broad range of things, but the study itself has a mass impact on modern-day culture."
Hare continued, “I don't think people realize how much of an impact classics has on modern life from the art that we see, from the words that we speak, and even the sort of laws and practice of Western philosophy…My hope is that the course grows and that there are people who will be interested. I mean, truth be told, the problem that will always be faced with the club, especially one that's super into the arts and humanities, is that people just don't have a main interest in arts and humanities. More people are focused on a career-based path, especially in a time like this; I don't blame them. They are focused on, you know, getting a decent career, getting a good job, getting good pay. The last thing they are worried about is understanding the history that came for them. I understand that, but truth be told, I think eventually, there should be a growing part of people who will be interested in classical studies. I think, even though it might be small for some, I think that this small group is what will keep the club going.”