Courtesy of Ben Berman
The new Elephant Thursday representatives have acquired a greater awareness of the color gray after taking on Berman’s 4-year-long tradition of distributing paper slips to students in recognition of gray clothing worn on each Thursday of the year. The slips are cashed in for elephant-themed prizes at the end of every semester.
“I have this side effect that I notice gray everywhere,” reflected newly appointed Elephant Thursday representative, Abe Gobel (‘17).
Gobel was one of three students inaugurated as the new Elephant Thursday representative this semester after its creator, alumnus Ben Berman (‘16), retired from his position this past May.
Upon retirement, Berman named three successors: Tim Jones (‘19), Emily Watzl (‘18), and Gobel.
In the fall of 2015, Berman made a Facebook post inviting new applicants to apply for the position. He is now a M.A.T. student with a full schedule that is unforgiving of the time commitment needed to practice Elephant Thursday.
Seven applicants applied for the position and participated in tryouts. Berman shaved down the applicant pool to three members, one from each class below his.
“He always kept me in mind for the next [elephant],” admitted Gobel. The two met through Gobel’s persistence in acquiring Elephant Thursday slips every week his first year. This led to conversations about Gobel continuing the tradition upon Berman’s retirement.
Watzl also met Berman through his weekly practice.
“I was an avid follower of the whole Elephant Thursday thing,” she said. “I just became kind of friendly with him – [we] became friends from that.”
Jones knew Berman from involvement in the Clark theater department. He chalked up being chosen as an Elephant Thursday representative to his personality, saying “I’ve been told I’m an energetic person.”
Gobel, Watzl, and Jones all set out together the first Thursday of classes this semester to hand out elephant slips.
“He had all three of us go out just to create hype,” explained Watzl.
“I realized like halfway through my first Thursday [that] it’s a lot more work than I kind of expected it to be,” reflected Gobel.
Jones agreed, “I’m nervous I won’t be able to give it what it deserves.”
“I’m going to try to stick to how Ben was because I want to keep his vision alive,” Jones continued. “He is the one who brought this to Clark, and it is such a great thing.”