200 Days in the Life of the College

Friday, February 11

They love you tender, but it’s a long day

By Julia Wilber ’11

Coffee? Check.

Donuts? Check.

Pitch Pipe? Check.

It is 5:30 a.m. on the Friday before Valentine’s Day, and the Hamilton College Buffers are getting ready for Buffergrams, an annual tradition of sung Valentines. The Buffers, Hamilton’s only all-male a cappella group, trek across campus to deliver these gifts paid for by prankster friends and romantic partners. Carl Crafts ’11, Buffers president, notes that for a day about affection, “It is kind of aggressive. The first ’gram is at 6, and you just go after that.”

The Buffers spend today running in and out of classes, dorm rooms and dining halls, singing iconic love songs such as “Love Me Tender” or crowd-pleasing favorites such as Cee-Lo Green’s “Forget You.” Buffergrams are targeted mostly at students, but this year serenades are also delivered to Mary O’Neill, director of the Quantitative and Symbolic Reasoning Center, as well as the staff of Commons Dining Hall. “That was great,” Buffer Sam Bristol ’11 comments later. Even a prospective student gets a taste of Hamilton’s charm — one lucky young lady receives an impromptu “Love Me Tender” in Kirner-Johnson during her campus tour.

From the looks on the faces of the professors, staff and students who witness Buffergrams, the Buffers themselves certainly have an adoring crowd, but it makes for a long day. “Camaraderie in misery,” Crafts says. “It is fun,” Bristol adds, “but there is a dark hole in the afternoon.” The spirit of the day will end three days later, on actual Valentine’s Day — telephoning ’grams to the wives of Buffer alumni and the mothers of current Buffers.