Culture Intro

Author: Mackenzie Kelleher

As the end of the school year quickly approaches, the stress of finals and the longing for a relaxing vacation grow stronger every day. We may have a few more weeks to go before we are home-free, but this April, for a glorious five days, Notre Dame students were gifted an early taste of summer: SunTostal. 

SunTostal was this year’s theme for the Student Union Board’s (SUB) annual tradition, AnTostal. AnTostal’s origins can be traced back to 20th century Ireland, where it was once a festival dedicated to celebrating Irish life. In 1967, three students brought this tradition to Notre Dame’s campus so that students could celebrate their own version of what it means to be Irish with a week full of fun events. 

This year’s theme, SunTostal, brought a plethora of exciting summer-related events: exactly what students needed during a dreary first week of April. Carefully chosen by its SUB committee, the theme aimed to bring a little brightness into students’ weeks. 

“When picking this year's theme, SunTostal, my committee and I really wanted to encourage students to get through the final weeks of the semester leading into summer, so we wanted a fun theme that would hopefully bring out the South Bend sunshine,” said Emma Sedlack, AnTostal Committee Chair. 

And bring out the sunshine, they did. Each of the five days of SunTostal offered a unique opportunity for students to take a break from the stress of the second semester and have a bit of fun. One of the most noteworthy events that SUB put forth during the week of April 3 was a day full of giveaways. Students were able to receive various goods and summer essentials like bucket hats, sunglasses, beach towels and popsicles. 

Other prominent events included a cosmic experience with “Night at the Planetarium” in Jordan, a pop-up farmer’s market with local foods, goods, and fresh produce, as well as an evening of obstacle course races and dunk-a-professor on the scenic Library Lawn, which was unfortunately moved inside because of the rain. 

“My committee did an incredible job brainstorming events that would really grab students' interest,” Sedlack noted. The diversity of planned events allowed for substantial and enthusiastic participation from the student body.

Although the majority of students simply reaped the benefits of SunTostal, members of SUB had been working on the event since before the fall semester even began. Despite the stress of planning and organizing such an important week, Sedlack reflected on the experience fondly, saying, “It is absolutely worth it to be able to bring students fun events all week and get to share AnTostal with the campus community… SunTostal, and AnTostal every year, is such a fun way to celebrate the beginning of spring and we hope[d] we [could] bring students some additional sunshine into their day this week in particular.”