The entire basis for the university system is credited to the ancient Greeks, and now the University of Rhode Island has a student group to honor the ancients.
The newly formed URI Classics Society is trying to educate and involve students in Greek and Roman mythology through analyzing classical literature and creating ancient-themed activities and events.
The student society had its first event last Thursday, in which they showed the recent movie "Troy," and had two professors debate as to whether or not it was accurate to Homer's version. Ann Suter, professor of languages, head of the classical section in the languages department, argued against the legitimacy of the film.
"I gritted my teeth last weekend and watched 'Troy' again," said Suter, who is also the group's adviser. "Where are the gods in this version of the Trojan War? They were the cause of it."
The event was a fundraiser for the group so it could get a license and full legitimate group status. Junior Erin Mullen, a co-creator of the group said it was a difficult process to get full recognition, dealing with the Student Senate, but completely worth the effort.
"We started the society to create more of an interest in classical society for the students," Mullen said. "[We wanted to] have students learn it in a fun and interesting way."
Suter said she had little to do with the formation of the group, giving credit to creators Mullen, group president Heather Cotoia and vice president Emily Moore.
"I had suggestions every now and then, but they were the ones who did it all," Suter said. "It's really the students who have been doing this, I have been privileged to watch it grow and develop."
Cotoia said she and other students got the idea for the group in their Latin class last year.
"It was the advanced level and there weren't many of us, so we all became really close," she said. "We had so much fun in class that we thought, this should be a group that anyone can join and enjoy all this dorkiness with us."
She added that the class made her realize that so much of our culture and customs are derived from Roman and Greek society, any student in any major would benefit from studying them.
Mullen said it was during one of her classes at URI, Introduction to Art History: Ancient Medieval, that got her really interested in classical literature, and she said all students have something to learn from studying ancient Greek and Roman stories.
"You know how they say, 'history repeats itself?" Mullen said. "Some of the stuff I've seen in classical history [and literature] ends up repeating itself in today's society."
Another movie night is planned, and Disney's "Hercules" is the current choice, but this may change at a later date. They are also planning a classics-themed fair and an ancient-themed monopoly game called Thermopoly.
"It's a great group," said freshman Jessica Alter, a biological science major, in an e-mail. "You get to meet people with similar interests (if you're interested in Ancient Greece and Rome), I joined because I am interested in Greek mythology I am currently studying the language of Ancient [Greece]."
The group also advocates students to choose Classics as their major or double major, because it helps in all other aspects of academia. They cite the Association of American Medical Colleges, saying, "students who major or double-major in Classics have a better success rate getting into medical school than do students who concentrate solely in biology, microbiology, and other branches of science."
For updates on meetings and events, check the Facebook group labeled the URI Classics Society.
"We are still coming up with ideas, and suggestions are more than welcome!" Cotioa said.