200 Days in the Life of the College

Saturday, May 7

They’re keeping the ‘buff’ in buff and blue

By John Wulf ’12

Streaking! You don’t have to call it a tradition, and you certainly don’t have to like it, but the Hill has experienced worse. In a 1986 edition of the Alumni Review, Frank Lorenz — Hamilton’s human encyclopedia — wrote, “Prankery on College Hill is an ancient sport going back to the earliest days.”

For instance, in 1844, the sophomore class hijacked the Chapel bell. In 1925, two students orchestrated an elaborate hoax that tricked the students, the president and the Utica newspaper into believing that Charlie Chaplin was to give a guest lecture. And in 1980, all 1,000 pounds of the Alexander Hamilton statue were transported to a distant farm field, only to be discovered weeks later. Suffice it to say, Hamilton has a lighter side.

On a gorgeous spring afternoon, the streaking team makes its own mark. Wearing ridiculous masks and shouting “WOO!” as loudly as their exhausted lungs will allow, the “team” members race across College Hill Road and tangle themselves up in Dunham Quad. It’s just another encounter with the buffest of the blue.

In December, the team streaked during exam week. Through a packed library filled with high-strung students, the streakers ran while exclaiming an ironic “SHHH!” It was an unsettling sight but drew plenty of smiles. Even a librarian, requesting anonymity, saw merit in the puerile practice: “I think it’s great. It breaks up the monotony, brings levity.”

Throughout the years, that’s been the point behind the team’s colorfully pale display: Relax for a second. School is hard. Exams are stressful. They demand serious attention, but occasionally they also deserve something else — to be laughed at. One student interrupted in the library could not have agreed more. “I embrace it. Let them streak. Let everyone streak!”

Now that would be something.