Last week the Wellesley Seniors voted to abandon a solemn tradition, the honorable and salutary practice of step-scrubbing. The picture of sedate seniors in the customary char-woman pose, washing down the steps of Founders' Hall on the Wellesley class day, was surely it picturesque survival; but the class decided, with some logic, that there were more agreeable ways of showing class loyalty and spirit.
Now the Harvard Senior Picnic, likewise, is about to be discarded. 1923 will probably deny any influence from the sister college; but the cases are not very different. At this annual festivity, as now practiced, perhaps half the class participate. one-eighth enjoys itself, while the rest comes home with memories less pleasant than painful.
Similar customs, like hazing and rushes, long ago became obsolete, leaving only this one antique survival, which has lingered more because it was a tradition than because it gave much real pleasure. The change in taste is not a sign that the present "younger generation" is more serious and less able to enjoy itself than its predecessors: it means simply that the older diversions have been exaggerated and distorted until they have become out-worn.
The officers of the Class of 1923, in urging that the historic picnic be abandoned, are taking a step to which most of their classmates will quickly assent. The practice of the picnic in recent years has shown lessening of interest by the class as a whole, and an increased emphasis on its objectionable features. The custom is one which would die a natural death if no unfortunate occurrence interrupted it to bring a sudden end. The convenient riddance which the present Seniors propose will be a relief to succeeding classes and no great loss to 1923.
Meanwhile, there is a question whether the desirable features of the picnic permitting as it did an informal class "get-together", cannot be provided by some other means. Any suggestions that the Committee receives will be cagerly considered, but they will be useless unless they eliminate the absurdities and exaggeration that made the old Senior Picnic a nuisance and even a danger.