Here’s what happens when dumpster-diving and physics club combine.
Here at Wesleying, we’ve got “Wesleyan University” on Google Alert, and every once in a while something magical and unexpected pops into our inbox. Like this video of a Society of Physics Students meeting in 2001 or 2002, when your friendly neighborhood physics nuts used liquid nitrogen to blow a Macintosh Classic into smithereens on the second floor of the Science Tower.
The video appears courtesy of a rather prolific YouTuber by the username of “sturmovikdragon,” whose credits include a handful of other “zany stunts” by the Wesleyan-based physics club. “sturmovikdragon” (possibly not hir real name) gleefully identifies this event as “perhaps the greatest achievement of the Wesleyan University Chapters of the Society of Physics Students,” noting that the group went so far as to use extension cords and work lights to illuminate the scene and that “SPS President Adam took the valiant role of arming the bomb and properly orienting the Mac Classic for the experiment.” Damn, that’s commitment.
According to the YouTube blurb, the videographer obtained this and various other Mac Classics by dumper-diving.
Ten years ago, Doug Bennet ’59 declared war on chalk. In a multi-post series, we’re looking back.
On October 3, 2002, President Douglas J. Bennet ’59 sent an email to Wesleyan students, faculty, and administrators. It contained 335 words, but the message was brief: the chalking on campus, much of it sexually explicit, had gone too far.
The practice “undermines our sense of community and impedes substantive dialogue,” Bennet wrote. Though storied, “it is not a lofty tradition.” Plus, “there are more constructive ways to communicate.” With that, the president was declaring a moratorium on the practice. Temporary, of course. But indefinite.
A decade later, chalking remains banned.
With that single memo, Bennet set in motion the controversy that would rock campus that autumn, ten years ago this month. The chalking moratorium enraged queer groups, dividedfaculty (spoiler: they voted 44–8 against the ban), and inspired flurries of activism all over campus. (There was even a protest at a closed Board of Trustees meeting, recounted here and here. Its details are eerily similar to the occupation last month.) It spawned more Wespeaks than probably any single controversy while I’ve been at Wes, including need-blind. And it captured the imagination of the New York Times, who sent a journalist to cover the drama in a generous feature piece.