Labor Day

The first Berea College Labor Day took place in 1921. Through the last 100 years of celebrations, the structure of Labor Day has changed, but the meaning remains the same. Berea College Labor Day has historically been a time for everyone to take a pause and celebrate work well done, specifically the student employees. Classes and labor assignments are excused for a day of restful and meaningful celebration of the work students do for the campus community.

The first labor days that were celebrated put all the skills that students acquired in their positions on full display. Students would compete in various competitions to exhibit the technical, agricultural, or clerical skills that they used on a day to day basis in their jobs. These competitions included sheep shearing, weaving, basket making, table setting, and alphabetical filing.

Today, Labor Day is a day of celebration and exploration. There are no longer competitions, but the celebration of work well done continues. It is a full day of celebration that includes a shared campus wide meal, snacks, prizes, and games. Students and supervisors from various departments gather to display their daily work, as well as the unique or long-term projects that have been completed. During Labor Day celebrations, the Labor Program office provides a professional development session for first-year students, as well as a formal dinner for student supervisors.