Ronit Bhattacharyya ’07, who is too busy to post this himself but assumes [Correctly! — ed.] that I am at his beck and call, sent this link to the latest happenings in Williamstown. It seems to have all started with:

Professor Eva Grudin was about to lead her students into a discussion of whether an abstract painting was meant to invoke a certain part of the male anatomy when her class was interrupted by the real thing.

With no warning, two naked students barged into her Williams College lecture hall, struck a quick pose for the 150 students there, and ran out. Nothing abstract here. Grudin and her students had just been streaked.

But this was no one-time prank by some drunken college students. It was yet another performance by two members of the Springstreakers, the latest unofficial student activity club at this elite liberal arts college.

“It’s hard to get your bearings back and continue with your lecture after that,” said Grudin, who let out a shriek that was followed by her students’ laughter, then applause when the streakers stole everyone’s attention from a slide projection of Robert Motherwell’s vaguely phallic depiction of a bull.

With two weeks before the end of final exams, Grudin and many of the students on the prim 2,000-student campus in the Berkshires say the Springstreakers are offering just the kind of stress relief that so many need right now.

Prim?

“It’s amazing that they do this,” said Mon Thach, a freshman who was streaked in Grudin’s art history class late last week. “It was so funny, and everyone needs a good laugh like that at the end of the semester.”

Springstreakers — the name is a riff on Spring Street, which cuts through campus — is the brainchild of Morgan Goodwin and Andy “Tex” Whinery, two skinny freshmen who say there’s no bigger rush than dropping one’s drawers and getting maximum exposure by running through a crowd.

No bigger rush? Can someone please introduce these young men to some of the fine Eph women in their class?

“I haven’t tried any hard drugs, but I have a feeling this is probably better,” said Goodwin, a 20-year-old who claims he never did anything to attract so much attention to himself while growing up in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Since he and the 18-year-old Whinery — who cut his streaking teeth in his hometown of Amarillo, Texas — did their first nude dash through a freshman dormitory in December, they’ve staged about a dozen surprise streaks on the Williams campus.

A dozen?

Grudin’s lecture was their first classroom appearance. They’ve also hit the library, several parties and an a cappella concert. And they’re not without coconspirators.

The Springstreakers boast nine active members, all men except for one, and they’re always looking to recruit new ones.

All men except one? There’s a surprise.

Before bombing through Grudin’s art history class, Goodwin tried coaxing a few buddies into joining him and Whinery. There was plenty of interest, but no takers. Membership requires a willingness to shed clothing and an ability to run quickly.

“A big part of our protocol is streaking while sober,” Whinery said. “Being naked is nothing to be embarrassed about, and if you can only do it when you’re drunk, then you can’t do it with us. That’s something we pride ourselves on.”

So far, the Springstreakers haven’t raised the ire of campus administrators. “It hasn’t impinged on our lives at all,” Williams spokesman Jim Kolesar said. “I don’t know that they’ve had any effect at all.”

Streaking on college campuses, of course, is nothing new. As Grudin is quick to point out, she’s seen plenty of streakers at Williams since she started teaching there in 1971.

“Their fathers were doing this in the old days,” she said. “If they wanted to do something really funny, they’d get their fathers to do it with them now.”

“Funny” is not the first word to come to mind when I picture this.

Goodwin doesn’t pretend there’s anything high-minded about running around in the buff, but if there is a social message he’s trying to send, it’s that the human body is nothing to be ashamed of.

“I feel the people we streak get something out of it,” Goodwin said. “The most obvious thing is that they see something that’s funny and blows their minds and will give them something to talk about at reunion in 10 years. But it gets to deeper things like people’s ideas of sex and nudity and body image; things you might discuss in a classroom but now have a reason to talk about in a different setting.”

So what does their audience think of the Springstreakers’ body images? “I was saddened to see only their backsides,” Grudin said. “But they were nice backsides.”

By the way, if Ronit is so busy, then how does he have time to read about this on Fark? Just asking! Note that, as always, the Fark thread is educational. I did not know that Det. Stan ‘Wojo’ Wojciehowicz of Barney Miller was Max Gail ’65. I need to read Wikipedia more often!

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