Most cell phone providers have terrible coverage over the campus. Phones don’t work most places, and even then they only work after a lot of resetting. (I suspect that this is a plot by AT&T, the school’s official cell phone provider who has perfect campus coverage, to win over subscribers by stopping their competitors.) This leads to the bizarre sight of a bunch of students, walking like crazy talking zombies around the front courtyard in the pitch black night. They are, of course, all talking on their cellphones to their parents.

I am informed, ominously, that “things may start to happen”. And soon enough, a worldwind runs through the courtyard. Spotlights wave overhead while bouncers push us back to create an empty circle in the middle. The circle quickly fills up with what, gentle reader, was difficult to observe and even more difficult to describe, but was certainly a heady and potent mix of a hovercraft, scantily-clad people, a marching band, cheerleaders, a costume party, a dance party, (apparently simulated) public nudity, a dancing tree, and a whole lot of glowsticks. Almost as soon as it came, it left again, running down the street to the next dorm, eventually running back to end up in Stanford’s largest courtyard, the Main Quad.

I am sad to confess that I, your Objective Journalist and Reporter of the Facts was for a brief period swept up in the crowd’s boundless enthusiasm. Thankfully, I recovered by blakerossian sense of arrogant superiority quickly, and only with minor scrapes and bruises. I quickly noticed that the whole event was being carefully supervised by the police, but they failed to intervene. Reaction to the event, apparently called a Band Run, was somewhat mixed. At least, I think I overheard someone say “This reminds me of a headache.”

posted September 22, 2004 02:05 AM (Education) (6 comments) #


Framing the Media
Behind the Thick Black Line
Published Author
Stanford: Day 1
Stanford: Day 2
Stanford: Night 2
Stanford: Day 3
Stanford: Day 4
Stanford: Day 5
Stanford: Day 8


The band is probably the craziest bunch of people at Stanford. People either love them or hate them. Having the band has the benefit of putting all the crazy people in one central place, so they are less of a hazard to everybody else. Same with frats ;-)

posted by Can Sar at September 22, 2004 02:25 AM #

Really enjoying your write-ups of your first few days of Stanford, especially compared with my own experiences at MIT (notable lack of spirit building exercises comes to mind ;). I’m looking forward to how you’ll cover the day-to-day of college life, i.e. once classes start; you have a wonderful biting wit. Good luck being a frosh! (a fro? I recall Stanford calling pre-frosh weekend “Pro-Fro” weekend, standing supposedly for prospective frosh).

posted by Dominik Rabiej at September 22, 2004 11:38 AM #

Weird. I’d like to hear more, I think I’m applying there in the next few months.

posted by Taylor at September 22, 2004 11:03 PM #

I find it interesting as someone not familiar with US universities to read these things. One thing that strikes me is: with all these hysterical things going on, how many take part in this? I mean everyone can’t be 20 years old, there’s got to be some 35 year olds as well? How do they find the college experience?

posted by Johan at September 27, 2004 08:56 AM #

As a new undergrad student at MIT, I’d like to mention that while there may not have been spirit-building exercises when Dominik started, there are now.

Here at MIT for the class of 2008, we had PlayFair, which basically consisted of all the freshmen (~1000) in one gym with an inspirational leader who had us group ourselves in a bunch of random ways designed to make you realize you’re like everyone else. It also put you in the position to learn the names of at least fifty different freshmen — except that because it was so intentionally chaotic, you wouldn’t remember the faces or names of anyone later on even if you tried. The only thing that actually helped with meeting other people was that we were placed in orientation groups of about 10 or so, and you got to know their names pretty well (and because they were people from the dorm you’d gotten in the housing lottery - a dorm you’d listed as one of your preferences - they often were people you’d actually see past orientation). I didn’t mind the group so much, although some of the activities we did were pretty laughable.

There were other similar exercises through orientation, though none were so blatantly repulsive as PlayFair. I did enjoy noting on instructions for the orientation events that our orientation group leaders were supposed to “try to keep an eye on the freshman, since they will probably try to leave.”

posted by Jeff Walden at October 2, 2004 01:37 PM #

What does “blakerossian” mean?

posted by Basil Crow at November 27, 2004 10:02 PM #

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