The scene on the lawn behind Scandling Campus Center may not have featured any centurions, but it was one of Ancient Roman tradition and fierce battle. The annual Bocce tournament, celebrating Italian culture and the Colleges’ Rome abroad program, was recently held on Hobart and William Smith’s new Bocce courts.
“The Bocce tournament was an incredible success,” says Associate Dean for Global Education Tom D’Agostino. “We set up this tournament to draw attention to our off-campus program in Rome. We’ve had a long-standing, successful program there and we’re looking to expand it.”
President Mark D. Gearan lent a hand in inaugurating the new courts by tossing out the first ball. With 16 teams, each named for a different region of Italy, more than 60 people from the HWS community participated in this year’s tournament.
In addition to a sizeable student group, representatives from departments across campus including the Center for Global Education, Buildings and Ground, the Spanish Department, the French Department, and the Art and Architecture Department competed for the title of champions.
Deeply ingrained in Italian culture, the first game of modern Bocce was organized in Italy. Upon immigration to the United States, many Italians brought with them this tradition and helped the game flourish in many communities throughout the country. Today, Italy is still home to the most prominent Bocce organizations as well as a frequent host of the World Bocce Championships.
The final match of the Colleges’ tournament was a showdown between two student teams: Team Puglia, named for a southern Italian region that is home to the Salento Peninsula, and Team Val D’Aosta, named in honor of a mountainous north-western region. In the end, those on Team Puglia were awarded the highest honor of HWS Bocce Tournament 2012 Champions – a recognition that earned them a plaque. The final score was 12-11, with a final game that came down to a matter of inches on the last ball.
“The students were really into it,” explains D’Agostino, who says that there was enthusiastic cheering and chanting from a captive audience. “Everyone stayed around to watch the last game; it was incredibly entertaining and everyone had a great time.”
The Center for Global Education will continue to create activities and programs that highlight the strength of the HWS Rome program, which allows students to spend a semester living and studying in the heart of Rome. The intensive art and architecture program is now led biannually by HWS professors, and exposes students to the rich world of Italian art, culture and life. Courses in the past have focused on visual analytics, architectural drawings and careful study of the many ages of Italian design.