2023 Dies Mulieris and Men in the Arena: What’s new?


Cindy Lopez, Executive Assistant, finalizes the plans for Dies Mulieris and Men in the Arena. She is responsible for planning the logistics of the event, including communicating with outside organizations and assigning activity groups on a spreadsheet. “I made sure everyone got something out of this experience,” Ms. Lopez said. Without her work behind the scenes, the many moving pieces of the symposium would have fallen apart.

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, and while students might spend their time celebrating with chocolate, roses, and hearts, they will also have the opportunity to practice a different kind of love language: acts of service. On February 13th and 14th, Webb’s biannual tradition of Dies Mulieris & Men in the Arena will bring the VWS and WSC together to focus on self-reflection and helping the community.  

Traditionally separated according to school, Dies Mulieris (Day of the Woman) and Men in the Arena are two full academic days that encourage students to learn outside the classroom, reflect on themselves, and build a better community. In the past, the VWS and WSC classes each explored the female and male identity and alternated between having an on-campus and off-campus experience. As Webb prepares to shift to a one-school model, this year’s Dies Mulieris and Men in the Arena invites the entire student body to engage in the symposium collectively.  

“The most successful Dies Mulieris and Men in the Arenas that I’ve been a part of have been the ones where the community comes together and works through these ideas, but then [works through them] in smaller spaces, too,” said Sarah Lantz, VWS Dean of Students.  

During the online school year of 2020-2021, students witnessed the first combination of the programs. Through an all-school assembly on Zoom that featured transgender swimmer Schuyler Bailar as a keynote speaker, an alumni panel, and a breakout room session that combined WSC and VWS advisories, students explored the theme of “Education as a Catalyst for Change” and various kinds of self-identity. 

With a planning committee consisting of various faculty and students, Dies Mulieris and Men in the Arena allows the community to learn character-building through an immersive experience. The first day of the program is dedicated to an assembly led by the keynote speaker, and the second day offers both on-campus and off-campus service opportunities to inspire students’ passion for helping others. The theme for this year’s symposium is “Fearless Inside and Serving Fearlessly,” an extension of this school year’s overarching message of not being afraid to show one’s “true colors.” 

“This ‘fearless’ idea really stood out to us because it can be applied to so many things,” said Izzy Kim (‘24), who is part of the planning committee. “It can be applied to the fear of expressing yourself for who you are. It could be as minimal as being afraid of heights. But these are things in our life that probably keep us from going about a daily lifestyle or being who we are.” 

Championing these core values, Darryl Bellamy — motivational speaker and founder of the #FearlessInside movement — will lead a whole-school assembly on February 13th. A self-proclaimed “Fear Collector,” Mr. Bellamy has been working in the field of understanding and tackling fear for years, speaking in more than 300 events across the nation to encourage students to actively create #fearlessmoments to challenge our fears. 

As the keynote speaker, Mr. Bellamy will open the two-day event with his message in the Les Perry Gymnasium, which will be further practiced and cultivated through guided group discussions and activities after. 

The day that follows the keynote has traditionally been dedicated to serving the community off-campus, but students’ service opportunities will look a little different this year than years prior. 

“We also like to have an element where students can get off-campus and think about their role in the greater community outside of Webb,” Dean Lantz said. “In the past, that has been what we call ‘urban field trips,’ but this year, Mr. Duque and I feel very drawn to wanting students to get out into the local community to do service.” 

To pivot towards helping the community both locally and in new spaces, the program offers service opportunities in spots such as Isaiah’s Rock, Huntington Beach, and Claremont Youth Activity Center. In an email sent to the Student News Outlook group on February 1st, Dean Lantz listed descriptions of each activity offered and provided a signup link for students to rank their preferences.  

“We’ve partnered with Claremont city, which is awesome — our school is in Claremont, so why not partner together?” Mr. Duque said. “The juniors and seniors go to Huntington Beach, so we’re going to clean up Huntington Beach. We’re going to use the trails, and we’re going to help within Marshall Canyon, LA County, and the Parks and Recs.” 

Students of the planning committee also advocated for club leaders to create and lead their own service opportunities.  

“We wanted people to have the opportunity to choose what they wanted to do,” said Reece Ollivierre (‘23), another member of the planning committee. “We wanted to get the clubs involved, give the leaders a chance to run an event, and give the club an opportunity to have some sort of community outreach.” 

Clubs such as the Soap Club and Beyond the Bubble Club will host on-campus activities like soap-making for donating to the Foothill Family Shelter or assembling hygiene kits with a research session to help local refugees.  

Ultimately, Dies Mulieris and Men in the Arena invites students to pull away from their busy academic schedules and reconnect with their identity and others. The historical decision to merge VWS and WSC especially suggests a need for Webb to strengthen its community amidst transitioning times.  

“This is a day for us, like the honor symposium, to explore another part of our mission,” Dean Lantz said. “And I think the part of our mission statement that Dies Mulieris and Men in the Arena really speaks to is how we build our own character and discover who we are as people.”