In the early years of the Women’s College one might assume that the female students’ experience was one that mainly revolved around classes. The female students did attend the college to receive an education, but the idea was to design “a college that provided a safe, homelike, and comfortable environment” (Beneath Thy Guiding Hand, Carol E. Hoffecker) as well. This meant that everything found outside of the classroom environment had to be provided for the female students. Extra-curricular activities bound the women together in kinship and reinforced their presence at the institution.
“Creative arts had long been associated with women’s alleged special affinity for culture and aesthetics” (Hoffecker) so it was not surprising that many of the extra-curricular activities offered to the female students fell under the category of the arts, such as drama and music, both choral and instrumental. A Glee Club, a Mandolin Club, small orchestra, choir, and marching band were present at the college. “The yearbook from 1918 notes that the Glee Club members had kazoos which they played at Delaware College athletic events and illegally during lights out in the residence hall” (Hoffecker). “The Dramatic Club, created in 1917, focused initially on performing modest productions of skits and charades, but it later evolved into an organization capable of performing major dramatic works in conjunction with its counterpart in Delaware College” (Hoffecker). The female students would often rummage through their attics to find 18th century props and costumes to use in their performances.
The music clubs and programs available at the University of Delaware include everything from 8 bit orchestra, a group that uses music from video games to compose concerts each semester, to marching band, orchestra, choral groups, an instrumental jazz ensemble, an opera group, and many more. There is also an all girls acapella group by the name of D Sharps, founded in 1990. The opportunities for students to get involved in music related clubs at the University today seem endless. Clubs in general, have grown and expanded over the years; and today there are over 400 student-run organizations.
By Savannah Kruguer (Art Conservation major) and Alaina Smith (Art History major)