The typical freshman of this year, who often enjoyed the Line, took a different approach, and recruiting chairmen of activities and clubs are still blinking their eyes in amazement over suddenly swelled membership lists.
The Class of '63 was relatively cool to activities, having already decided that study was its main reason for living here. '64 showed little enthusiasm at registration, although it later jumped into activities with surprising vigor and quickly took control in several. The current sophomores were rather lethargic in their approach to activities, and still have not shown any overwhelming inclination to leave Lamont.
This year's Yardlings apparently have a very clear idea of what they want out of College, and that conception includes much more than study.
Almost every organization in the College, and particularly those that offer some form of active participation, attracted unprecedented numbers of freshmen. In many activities, the number of freshmen showing interest was more than double that in recent years.
Many freshmen said they had carefully studied the Harvard Handbook during the summer, and decided from its descriptions what they were going to do.
Some, its true, had traditional experiences. One burly halfback candidate shyly admitted he had "no idea" of how many clubs he had nominally joined. "I had a doctor's appointment and had to go through quickly," he said, "and I thought it was mandatory to sign when they said so."
When asked to name a few of his organizations, he offered: "Tocsin--that's the ban the bomb group isn't it? And oh yes, the conservative club .... and I might have even joined the Liberal Union."
Although slightly worried about the effect extra-curricular activities might have on studies, '66 takes a vastly different view from that of '65 at the same time last year. "Sure studies may suffer," said one Yardling, "but you have to do something more than grind." (He has joined three organizations and is thinking about more.)
Dean Glimp could not explain the sudden change in attitudes from previous classes, but said "they are a bright, able group like the others. You never can tell when you admit them what they are going to do."
The biggest immediate beneficiaries of Yardling interest were the political groups. Admittedly, this is an election year, but the Presidential race in 1960 failed to produce enthusiasm in, '64 that even mildly compares with that shown so far by '66.
Pete Wallison, the always smiling, go go president of the Young Republicans, describes the interest shown in his group as "tremendous, just tremendous. I don't know what to ascribe it to."
Wallison has figures to support his enthusiasm. More than 120 Yardlings have said they want to join the club, and at least 70 have already paid their dues. Last year, with the help of a factional fight for party control that prompted intensive recruiting, the HYRC chieftains only drew 97 into the fold.
While Wallison detected a "spontaneous desire" among freshmen to join his club, he admitted that one of his most successful techniques on The Line was to offer an opportunity to "campaign against Ted Kennedy." He also felt that the "partisan administration of Jack Kennedy has made many latent Republicans want to declare themselves publicly."
But results were equally as impressive on the other side. Said Young Democrat President Harry Greene "We had a great time on The Line." He estimated the number of freshmen joining the club "could very well double" from previous years.
While Greene could offer no definite reason for the Yardling patterns of behaviour, he did feel that "a lot of freshmen are for (H. Stuart) Hughes, and joined the Young Dems to work for him."