The Bystander: Post Pre-Frosh Musing

Getting drunk, getting laid, and getting committed, all in one weekend

Like some Biblical pestilence—befitting the recent conclusion of Passover—the Red Folders descended upon the green pastures of Harvard last weekend. With equal parts bewilderment and enthusiasm, future members of the Class of 2012 invaded our lectures, dormitories, and parties.

The mission: get a taste of college life, and reassure yourself that 18 years of having few friends and no life will be totally worth it.

For many current students, the objectives of prefrosh weekend were more concrete but similar in spirit, generally ranging from “get them drunk” to “get them laid.” This surprises no one: Harvardians are always eager to establish their partying bona fides, and ever-hopeful that next year’s crop of freshmen will be both hotter and less awkward than those that came before.

The most idealistic among us, however, saw in the April Visiting Program an even greater opportunity: “Get them committed to my organization.” Or so I discovered when I spotted Maya D. Simpson ’11 in front of the Widener steps, exhorting every be-foldered passerby to accept one of her fliers. Not yet resistant to the temptations of a neon green slip of paper, a surprising number of prefrosh were stopping to listen.

“Harvard will lull you into a false sense of complacency. Be prepared!” she boomed, her green eyes ablaze. Unbelievably, a small hoorah went up among the small crowd. Then, noticing a guy nearby wearing a novelty sombrero and passing out ice-cream sandwiches, they quickly dispersed.

Maya, don’t you feel this is all a little hypocritical? I asked as I approached her. Here you are telling these people not to blindly follow authority, and yet they don’t even know what organization you’re representing!

“Oh, there are about 14 clubs listed on my flier,” she retorted. “I’m sure everyone can find something that interests them.”

So are you hosting any prefrosh yourself?

“Yeah, two of them. One of them is awesome: she totally wants a free Tibet. The other one only seems to want free alcohol at the Spee.”

The Admissions Office can’t get it right every time, I guess.

“Oh no, it’s cool. I also plan to hit up the final clubs tonight. Remember, saving the world is just my day job.”

NB: Prefrosh weekend is an annual favorite of Bennett C. Braddock III ’08, but he was largely unable to take part in this year’s festivities. Braddock was featured at the inaugural ROFLCon, a convention about online pop culture held at MIT, where he sat on a panel alongside such luminaries as “Star Wars Kid” and the “Chocolate Rain” guy.

Braddock’s claim to Internet fame? “Harvard Student Pees on John Harvard AND Japanese Tourist,” of course.