Because we haven’t posted enough chalking-related updates from the past few weeks, an anonymous tipster writes in to let you know about an amusing (or frightening, depending on who you are) happening on Church Street late last week:
I have a tip for Wesleying but would like to remain anonymous. Earlier today someone wrote the names of the Mystical 7 — a Wesleyan student secret society — out in chalk on the sidewalk on Church St near Olin. Later in the day, a bunch of the people whose names had been written were seen standing over the writing, looking fairly panicked, and then after that someone crossed the names out with more chalk. Here’s a photo of the names crossed out. FUCK SOCIAL HIERARCHY!!!!
According to one Wesleying staffer, “It’s intact in at least two places right now (beginning of CFA path and College Row near Zelnick).”
“I still can’t believe that I’ll be living there for the next four years, but I’m looking forward to the adventure.”
Here’s one final transmission from the Class of 2017 on experiencing WesFest last month, sent in by Cloie Logan ’17 of Albuquerque, New Mexico. For previous installments of this series, click here. Here’s Cloie:
I honestly don’t know what I was expecting at WesFest. Being an ED1 student, I guess I just really hoped that I wouldn’t spontaneously change my mind and decide I hated Wesleyan and be reserved to the fact that I’d be “stuck” here for the next year at least.
Thankfully, I was only reassured that Wesleyan was the place for me. President Roth’s welcome speech cancelled out all of the self-doubt sowed by some people back home who found it insane to be moving all the way out to Connecticut from Albuquerque, NM, and not even have a clue what I am going to study yet. But honestly, at this point I’d do anything to get out of this city.
Hi everyone, please help us bring our cat back home, she lives on Vine Street between Knolls and Cross. She is female black with a white smile on her belly and bright yellow/amber eyes. She is very playful and curious so don’t be afraid to go up and pet/grab her.
If you have information please connect me at mtinyo(at)wesleyan(dot)edu.
Deadline: As soon as you spot her.
Cost: “Name your price.”
Yes, the same Richard Nixon.
Do you keep up with the library’s Special Collections and Archives blog? If that’s a no, you may have missed archivist Leith Johnson’s “Pick of the Week,” which depicts then-Vice President Richard Nixon’s momentous visit to Wesleyan on October 18, 1956. Here’s your bi-weekly reminder that an institution of higher learning can change a lot in 50 years or less, and that Martin Benjamin ’57 once looked like this.
Shot by Fraser M. Lyle ’58, the above photo finds Tricky Dick on a Connecticut campaign stop less than a month before Eisenhower securely won reelection:
The Argus reported that Nixon spoke to about 400 students who crowded around him on High St. Suzy Taraba included this photograph, taken by Frazer M. Lyle ’58, in her recent presentation on alumni gifts of archival materials to the University Relations major gifts team. This photograph is particularly remarkable because it’s a color print, something that is rare among our photographs from this time period.
“I tried to look around myself more critically, and… shit, it was just as awesome a place I’ve always thought.”
This year, for the first time ever, we asked prefrosh to send in their impressions of WesFest for publication on Wesleying. Our first guest post comes from Chris Gortmaker ’17, an Early Decision prefrosh from Belmont, Massachusetts. Feel free to leave a comment, but don’t be an asshole. Here’s Chris:
Wesfest was awesome, but really, I wouldn’t have expected anything less. As an ED1 admit, I went to Wesfest without any doubts as to where I’d be spending my next four years. My decision was in, and my two-and-a-half days on campus did nothing but affirm my choice. The fellow prefrosh I met were consistently great people, and everything from Battle of the Bands at Eclectic to wine and cheese (the cheese notoriously absent) at WestCo kicked my ass with just how right it felt.
My sense of belonging stayed with me throughout, but was put somewhat into perspective at the Wednesday night comedy show in the Nics Lounge. A stand-up comedian whose name I forget—I do recall that he, in full police officer garb and brandishing a nightstick, endearingly harassed me later that night in WestCo—brought up an interesting point at the beginning of his act. He proclaimed that Wesleyan was in all respects the best school there was, and that all of us prefrosh present would be crazy not to choose Wes. I heard my own voice in his, as I had been saying things along these lines all day to the other prefrosh I met. Sarcasm began to creep into his voice as he exaggerated, blowing up his praise for Wesleyan to an absurd extent. He exclaimed, “Wow, what is this—a cult?”
This iconic and largely inexplicable image made its Facebook debut yesterday, where it has been racking up all of the likes. President Roth’s own comment: “A typical lunch at Alpha Delta Phi.” (#IsThisWhy?)
Have a caption idea? Send it to us at staff(at)wesleying(dot)edu. We’ll publish the best ones. We might even reward you with a
La Boca gif ah, forget it.
We didn’t witness this mischief, but our Foss Chill correspondents report from the front lines.
“Man in gorilla costume chases banana across Foss, runs behind Usdan, comes back and three bananas are now chasing him!” wrote an unsuspecting bystander. “It was epic. The bananas tackled the gorilla at the bottom of the hill!”
Adam Johnson ’14 sent in some cellphone-quality photographic evidence. Have pictures or video of your own? Direct them to us at staff(at)wesleying(dot)org.
Welcome to Wesleyan, prefrosh. Have fun, but know your limits.
“I’m hoping I won’t be put into a double with a freshman or anything. Maybe I will end up in Hewitt!”
GRS is currently in full swing, and if past years’ experiences are any indication, it will be a stressful, random, and thoroughly hellish week, full of broken promises, ruined friendships, and confusing numbers to decipher.* No one is really entirely sure how GRS really works, except Director of ResLife Fran Koerting, who, according to campus legend, wrote down all of the secrets of GRS on a piece of printer paper in 1986 and then buried it in her front yard so no one else could find it,** and possibly Ben Cohen ’10, who wrote out this exhaustive guide to housing options that I am linking here for your convenience. It’s pretty outdated, and Wesleying is too busy interviewing thesis writers to update it, so make of it what you will.
On the bright side, there’s good news:
I don’t have to deal with that shit this year there is sometimes free pizza. The other good news is that as bad as your GRS number is, you still have it better than Julia Clemens ’16, an unsuspecting freshman who has been cursed with the worst GRS number that exists on campus: 590. Clemens, who is pictured above standing in front of a tractor that may or may not be more spacious than her future living quarters, seems to be handling the situation pretty well. Instead of standing in the middle of Andrus moaning “Why meeeee,” she admits that “it’s kind of hilarious” and hopes to fare okay in the summer housing market (as students often do). “My mom wanted to ‘make a fuss,'” Clemens admits, “but I told her I didn’t think that would help.” (It wouldn’t.)
Here is our full interview with Julia Clemens ’16, Owner of the Worst GRS Number Currently In Existence at Wesleyan.
Today, Jacques Steinberg returns to campus. We’re looking back at his classic book.
Jacques Steinberg’s The Gatekeepers: Inside the Admissions Process of a Premier College is pretty much indisputably the most illuminating and insightful book written in the past few decades about elite college admissions, which Steinberg terms a series of decisions made “behind a cordon of security befitting the selection of a pope.” Conveniently, it also happens to focus on Wes. Steinberg, a journalist and education expert, tracks a diverse group of high school seniors and a then-Wesleyan admissions officer (Ralph Figueroa, currently Director of College Guidance at Albuquerque Academy) as they navigate the 1999–2000 admissions cycle.
Along with a handful of other Wesleying staffers, I read the book in high school, around the time I decided to apply to Wesleyan, and realized what I had already suspected: college admissions is about as complex, random, and ultimately meaningless as—well, the selection of a pope. It also makes for more thrilling drama than any reality show on TV. Before the rise of CollegeConfidential, The Gatekeepers was the most intimate glimpse at the people on both sides of the admissions process that existed. In fairness, it still is, because CollegeConfidential is a hellish underworld.
Mr. Steinberg, who also founded the New York Times’ “The Choice” blog, where he recently announced his departure from the newspaper after 25 years, is on his way to Middletown yet again. This time, he’s not writing a book about us (we think). He’s coming to lead a talk and Q&A in the Chapel, which is being hosted by the WSA. In honor of this glorious occasion, here’s a round-up of six things we learned about Wesleyan from The Gatekeepers—before even setting foot on campus.