The Last Streak

Every so often, the Undergraduate Council attempts to muster up some kind of campus spirit among its constituents, usually in the form of some massive event. While this year's Springfest was better than most, the turnout for most events of the "Club Loker" variety remains poor. Some council representatives try to explain the low attendance at campus-wide events by alluding to some vague intrinsic qualities of Harvard students. Not only are we far too hardworking for our own good, but we are also generally uninterested in activities involving large groups of people. Anything the council tries to do to draw a crowd seems destined for failure.

But as Wednesday night made patently clear, Harvard students have only minimal fear of wasting precious study hours, and we are certainly not afraid to be a part of a crowd. On the last night of reading period, no one needed a famous band to bring hordes of students out of their dorms. Nor was it necessary to hand out free alcohol or to haul in giant inflatable office supplies. Just hours before exams, hundreds of undergraduates defied every Harvard stereo-type, converging on the Yard for the Primal Scream. There is no longer any secret about how to attract a crowd. As we can see, it's all about naked people.

Now that we know how to attract people to an event, Springfest should never have a problem again--just fill the moonwalk with naked people. Loker Commons need not fear its waning crowds. All it has to do is invite people to spend their Crimson Cash...naked. Those graduating seniors headed for consulting would also do well to bring this principle with them. What could be a better way to boost office morale? Unfortunately, these things will never happen. And because they never will, we are forced to be nostalgic about Primal Scream.

Streaking, we are told, is something that every student should do before he or she graduates. After all, we can be confident in counting it among the many things that are only possible for us while we are here. So along with having sex in Widener and checking out free videos in Lamont, streaking is simply one more activity whose hour, for us, will soon pass. For graduating seniors, Wednesday night's event was the last opportunity to run around naked in front of hundreds of friends and acquaintances. Those of you who missed your chance to streak may now spend the remaining three weeks of college reflecting on the sad fact that your once-in-a-lifetime opportunity has passed you by.

Last month, an article appeared on these pages providing seniors with a list of "100 Things To Do Before You Graduate," and as the article suggests, many seniors are spending their final weeks here desperately trying to do all those things that they will never be able to do again. The idea is compelling and, for the more nostalgic among us, upsetting. But a closer look reveals that most of the things that seniors put on their lists of last chances aren't really their last chances after all. It is a little-known fact that a small fee will get you into Widener Library's stacks as a College alum, so that the legendary tryst still awaits those who missed their chance. The videos available in College libraries, despite seniors' nostalgia, are not "free" but rather part of an annual $30,000 cover charge, which is somewhat more expensive than membership at most video-carrying public libraries in America. Boston and its tourist attractions aren't going anywhere.


What most seniors will really miss is their daily interaction with friends, and that is one of the few things genuinely worth missing. But although life after graduation certainly won't be the same, good friends will keep in touch and new friends for future years are waiting in the wings. The only thing that seniors are really leaving behind, irredeemably and permanently, is college. And since we as students have not really had the typical American college experience--with all its debauchery, revelry, and yes, nudity--streaking at Primal Scream is just about the only thing we can miss.

Whether we are among the streakers or the streaked-by at Primal Scream, it remains one of the few collective events we have at Harvard that is clearly part of a college experience, only in that it is something that can only happen while we are here and while we are young. In a desperate wish to cure the student population of our collective fear of how quickly our years here are passing by, I encourage those of you graduating and entering into the world of work to change that. Start Primal Screams in your offices and law firms, in your graduate schools and your laboratories. Send the entire New York Stock Exchange on a naked lap around Wall Street. Once you do, we will stop feeling forced to miss college for college itself instead of for the people and ideas that college gave us. Maybe then we will stop feeling this horrible constant reminder that we will not be in college forever, and we can remember that even if "college" itself doesn't last, everything else does.

Seniors, enjoy the rest of your lives. And just in case you were wondering, yes, I did see you naked.

Dara Horn '99 is a literature concentrator in Eliot House . This is her last column for the semester.

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