Some wore ski masks, others hard hats, a few Viking helmets, but almost none wore clothing at this year’s annual Primal Scream. Well over a hundred students lined up in front of Stoughton and Hollis Halls to count down the seconds to midnight before running a wild lap across the Yard early Thursday morning.
A large crowd composed of students from across the College attended this semester’s iteration of the Harvard tradition, which has included streaking since the 1990s.
Before the run began, runners chanted U-S-A, waved class banners, and a few scrawled letters like XC across their buttocks. During the run, at least one runner ended up covered in milk, though most simply screamed and sprinted in the thirty-two degree weather.
Runners told The Crimson they had attended for a variety of reasons. Some said it was a release from the stress of finals.
“Just gotta do something fun,” said Robert B. Fluegge ’16, who also said he was “stressed out with all the studying.”
Others were less precise in their reasoning.
“It’s really just kind of an impromptu thing,” said Jacob M. Colbath-Hess ’16. “My roommates were like, let’s do it.”
More than 100 spectators gathered to observe. Before the event, the Harvard University Band played hits such as “Centerfold” at the John Harvard statue to rile up the crowd. Many of the band members themselves only sported short shorts beneath their jackets, although such attire was far more substantial than that worn by the runners themselves.
Not everyone who attended the event was caught up in its spirit. One megaphone-wielding spectator shouted at the assembled crowd: “To all you fat girls who feel liberal: this is fucking disgusting.”
Jacob J. Hutt ’13, who ran in the event, sported a large Where The Wild Things Are headpiece while running.
“I felt like for my first time, I had to go all out,” explained Hutt, who said the event was everything he dreamed of and more.
Others said they agreed. “It was really fun,” said Fluegge, adding that he would probably do it again.
Hutt said he was not so certain. “Once in a lifetime is enough,” he said.
Participation in the event was not limited to undergraduates. One Kennedy School student, who asked not to be identified by name because of the nature of the event, claimed to have run naked at every school he has attended.
“I’d like to see some more integration,” he said, adding that he thought it was a shame that Harvard’s graduate students did not interact more with students at the College.
The spectacle did not last long. A few students ran multiple laps, and one inebriated runner attempted to drag a “Please Walk Your Bike” sign home, but the Yard largely emptied after twenty minutes.
—Staff writer John P. Finnegan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.