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Are you there, Carleton subculture? It's me, Marley.

October 11, 2011 at 10:28 am
By Marlena Hartman-Filson

Streaking, crawling, climbing -- these are part of what initially attracted me to Carleton. It's not only the allure of rule-breaking; it's the temptation of freedom, of adventure, of exploring, of being part of generations upon generations of tradition.

Google "streaking at colleges" and you'll be directed to Wikipedia's page, "Streaking at educational institutions." The first paragraph is about Carleton; apparently, in 1967 the Carletonian lamented the rise of new social problems, including "the rise of class spirit, low grades, streaking, destruction, drinking, and the popularity of rock dances."

Look at the Carleton College Wikipedia page and you'll find reverence for the streaking tradition: "Streaking is a ubiquitous phenomenon, most impressive when conducted during winter temperatures that average about 15 °F (-9 °C), and occasionally reach lows around -40° (-40 °C)."

But now, streakers are being actively persecuted (well, persecuted might be a bit overly dramatic... how about the term "disciplined" instead) by the school - only the really, really fast ones get away with it (also a bit dramatic - if you streak in front of a grumpy professor of dean or student and you're reported, you may get a talking to only slightly more severe than the slap on the wrist of yore).

And the tunnels - rumor has it, they're becoming harder and harder to enter. Rumor has it, an open entrance to the tunnels wasn't terribly hard to find. Rumor has it, if one knew the right doors and hallways to take, preceding generations of explorers had left the necessary equipment for you to enter and exit easily and safely. But now, rumor has it there are iron grates or steel padlocks on the entrances, making it quite difficult for even the most intrepid of adventurers to enter.

tunnels

tunnels

tunnels

tunnels

tunnels 

And all else aside, I do understand that the tunnels were closed for a reason and keeping students from sneaking around them is probably for the best. But the walls of those tunnels hold generations of history - perhaps they could open them up just once a year? So they don't become tombs completely lost in the past?

And streaking - well, not every place can be San Francisco, where it is completely legal to be clothesless in public, outrage recently erupted over a proposed piece of legislation that would require nudist to cover up in restaurants and put a towel down before sitting on public benches or seats. Oh, the horror! 

Of course, trespass and run around naked aren't the only things that Carls do for fun and they're certainly not the only somewhat odd traditions we keep. We still enter into spooning competitions, we still slide down Bell hill on dining hall trays in winter, we still have silent dance parties and engage in the primal scream during exam days, and we still run around with the bust of a dead German poet (speaking of, wherefor art thou, Schiller?).

So ahoy, Carls! Don't dismay, there is still time to adventure and explore, to display old traditions and create our own! Remember R2D2?

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