The practice of wearing Senior buttons was first adopted by the class of 1905 and it has been retained ever since. Presumably, therefore, these insignia have been found of value to the Senior class. The question naturally arises: are not the conditions in Freshman year such as to make this practice, which is of use to Seniors, of far greater value to Freshmen?
The basic purpose of these insignia is to increase the number of a man's friends among his fellow classmen. The last part of the career of a class is certainly the most difficult of all times to attempt to widen a man's acquaintance artificially. At best, it can only result in a bowing acquaintance with a score or so of men who you had no idea were members of your class. Moreover, a class has become definitely sifted into groups by Senior year. A man's friends are made and he will inevitably move more or less completely in his own particular circle. The fact that one meets a man in the Yard wearing a class button will rarely serve to do more than to tag him as a member of the Senior class. Incidentally, the caps and gowns accomplish this purpose as far as Seniors are concerned.
Exactly the reverse is true of Freshmen. The first year is the natural and logical time to meet one's fellow-classmen. At this period, before groups have become crystallized, bowing acquaintance very easily and quickly ripens into friendship. It is important that Freshmen should be able to know their classmates, even if only by sight. In many ways success or failure in forming friendships in Freshman year is likely to determine the pleasure and profit to be gained from the four years in College.
Obviously, then, if class buttons possess value for Seniors (and their retention by seven successive classes is strong evidence that they do), such insignia would render much greater service to Freshmen.