Franklin & Marshall College Franklin & Marshall College

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Our Traditions and History

Founded in 2005 as South Benjamin Franklin House, and renamed Bonchek College House in 2007, our House has always been active and vibrant. Our House was:

  • the first House at Franklin & Marshall to hold regular bagel breakfasts
  • the first with a House web page (designed by Thomas Ternan ’08)
  • the first with a House crest (designed by Jay Hembling ’09)
  • the first to ratify a House Constitution (February 13, 2006, written by Vince Lombardozzi ’08, Mariyah Salem ’07, Shane Sunday ’08, and Thomas Ternan ’08)
  • the first to elect a House government (March 6, 2006)
  • the first House to put on its own theatrical production (“Les No Longer Miserables”, September 2008).

Our House mascots are the pair of red-tailed hawks that live on campus. Our House symbol is the lantern.

Our House has developed several traditions that involve the larger community as well, including:

Community Outreach Dinner

In the fall of 2005, first-year roommates Ian Lubetkin and Rob Fleisher pondered what to do with their unused guest meals. They decided to host the Community Outreach Dinner, which has become a House tradition. This event brings 150-200 people from local shelters to campus for a catered, sit-down meal, twice a year.

You Stay Classy F&M Ball

Pharyl Weiner '06 decided her senior year that the newly formed House system needed to do right by the College and host a HUGE dance! She went to all four Houses asking if anyone was interested, and South Ben House said YES! This dance, held yearly on Hartman Green, attracts 400+ people and is the largest House-sponsored dance at F&M. The Classy Ball won the 2007 Presidents Award (Entertainment Event).

Bonchek Cultural Events

Bonchek House supports the arts at F&M.  For selected performances, Bonchek students can attend for a specially discounted price, sometimes for free.  Events in the Lancaster community and area are visited as well.

Lantern Night

The Lantern Legionnaires was a secret society within Bonchek College House that dressed in black academic robes, masks, and gaudy jewelry; they ran through the halls of our House yelling Happy Lantern Night! and delivering lanterns to our First Year Students. Nobody, no, not even the don, knew who they were.

Zombies vs Humans

Sophia Volpi '07 decided in her senior year to give a parting gift to her House. She approached her don, Professor Crannell, and cautioned, "this will seem a little odd . . ."  It's been odd, but popular: In the first year, Zombies vs. Humans had 128 players, and it raised $1,032 for the Hershey Neuroscience Center. Bonchek House continued the "Eat a brain; save a brain" game of tag for several years thereafter.  This event is now organized by various students, Bonchekers and non-Bonchekers alike.

Lounge redecoration

Late in fall 2006, a quiet first-year approached her don to see if she could get new furniture for an "armpit of a lounge." Don Crannell helped Erica D'Eramo '10 get a tour of the warehouse, where they discovered 1950s-style diner furniture . . . and the Dips Diner was born! Erica got all of 3rd Atlee and 3rd Dubbs involved in transforming the space into one of the most congenial spaces in our House.

Dump N Run

Dont trash it! Donate it! Bonchek House started Dump-N-Run, which turns leftover stuff into help for the Lancaster community. At the end of the school year, things that students don't want to cart back home are collected and sold at a giant community yard sale, with proceeds donated to local charities or organizations.  This event is now run by other student groups on campus.

D-wards Day

At the end of the year, the rest of the College hands out awards to our best and our brightest. For several years, Bonchek handed out D-wards to our . . . well, to the people who earned them. These humorous D-wards included the "Okay, you can stop taking those overcoming shyness" D-ward, the "Hair Lust D-ward", and the "Best Lie Down Comic" D-ward.