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It's Tech toga time; it's quite an honor

This item originally appeared in the November 4, 2004 issue of The Tech Talk.

In a world of elections, war and poverty, the Tech honors program has decided to just relax and fly by the seat of their pants literally.

From 5:30 to 7:30 tonight, the Wyly Tower of Learning auditorium and the George T. Madison courtyard will be turned into a replica of the Roman Empire, as the honors program holds its 3rd annual toga party.

Convivium Romanum will give honors students a chance to take a break from studying.

The guests will first listen to speaker Wade Heaton, an instructor of English and world literature at Southeastern Louisiana University-Hammond, in Wyly Tower, followed by dancing and feasting in the courtyard.

According to the Encarta Encyclopedia Web site, the toga was originally a plain white woolen garment worn by all Romans, but by the 2nd century B.C., things changed.

Only men who were citizens of Rome wore the toga. Women, slaves and foreigners who were not citizens of Rome were forbidden to wear it.

Different types and styles of togas indicated profession, rank and even age.

A woman convicted of adultery was sometimes forced to wear a toga as a symbol of the loss of her female identity and as a "badge of shame."

Especially whitened togas were worn by political candidates, and the Roman emperor would wear a toga made of purple-dyed wool during times of triumph.

Togas were wrapped in different ways, and over the centuries became larger and more elaborate. But over time they have evolved into a ceremonial costume rather than a national costume.

However, togas are not the only symbol that reflects the Roman civilization; food and music will also play a large part in the party.

Students will be busy eating and dancing, and if a toga falls off, then we'll simply call it a "wardrobe malfunction."

"If the toga falls off, I'll just go with it," Justin Adcock, a graduate student of industrial and organizational psychology, said.

Adcock wouldn't be the first person to lose his toga, though.

"I had a terrible time with my sheet last year," Bruce Magee, an assistant professor of foreign languages and English, said. "I was embarrassed when it kept falling." But this year he ordered a toga, in hopes of no more slips.

The menu includes dishes that will reflect the time period, such as chicken salad, cabbage salad and honey mushrooms. During the event, faculty and students will have a chance to mingle.

Magee said the Convivium is not all about the food, music and dancing; it is the chance to get all the honors students and faculty together that makes Convivium Romanum so special.

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