“Meet at the Horse’s Head at 6:30 am!” The leaders of Shriv at the Riv make that announcement every Friday at sit-down lunch. New students may be wondering what “Shriv at the Riv” even means. Unlike some students who sleep in as long as they can, the participants of Shriv at the Riv look forward to waking up at 6:30 in the morning to start their day by taking a dip in the Deerfield River.
Though it may seem like a long standing Deerfield tradition, surprisingly, Shriv at the Riv’s history only goes back as far as 2017 when Ollie Hollo ’18 and Jack Brown ’18 started the club. Austin Philie ’19 recalled that Hollo and Brown believed that the club would “bring people together ”to just have fun.”
The club meets every Friday morning in front of the Horse’s Head. Rain or shine, students, wrapped around in towels or maybe a winter coat, will huddle in front of the Athletic center. From there, students, led by the leaders of Shriv by the Riv, will walk down to the Deerfield River to take a dip in the River or maybe even swim. After the morning refresher, students hurry back to their rooms to get ready for their classes.
Some people may be baffled by the fact that some students would be willing to sacrifice their precious hours of sleep for an artic-cold morning swim. However, Philie reminds his peers to look at the “bigger picture.”
“The purpose of the club is not about waking up and going in the water but it’s about the cool experience with some of your best friends, friends for life. It’s a great memory that you can make with your friends at Deerfield doing something crazy and fun,” said Philie.
The Deerfield River holds a special place in every Deerfield student’s heart. Philie described the early morning scene as something one simply cannot see during broad daylight. Mimi Pastor ’19 reiterated these sentiments as she said, “It is amazing to see the fog rising on the clouds as the sun is rising. It’s extremely serene.”
Philie explained that the name “Shriv at the Riv” was actually intended to be “Shiver at the River.” However, with time, students adoped the title “Shriv at the Riv,” because it was simply easier and quicker to say; it has stuck with the club ever since.
There has been a lot of positive support from the faculty for Shriv at the Riv. Mr. Kelly along with the Deerfield Security officers make sure that the Deerfield River is not too high nor too cold for the students to take participate in “Shriving.” Mr. Kelly makes announcements at sit-down meals or sends emails to the student body to update them on security of the club.
Aidan Philie ’20 encouraged new students to come join by mentioning, “If you want to have an experience, come out to the Shriv at the Riv. You will want to come again.”
Although this club is fairly new, Shriv at the Riv has proven to establish itself as a prominent tradition at Deerfield Academy. This Friday, think about taking time off your morning to head down to the River for a morning dip!