Annu Subramanian: A new, nearly nude tradition

In the fall of 2001, Eric Whitehead strummed his guitar and roamed around the University of California at Los Angeles’ campus wearing nothing but short shorts. The almost-nude guitarist was protesting heightened police security on campus, and garnered a great deal of attention from the UCLA student body.

Enough attention, in fact, that a group of organizers at UCLA decided the entire student body should be able to enjoy a night of running, sauntering or leisurely walking around campus in nothing but their skivvies. And thus, the UCLA Undie Run was born.

This spring, I say GW students should also partake in an Undie Run.

During finals, we all go a bit crazy. As the rising temperatures evoke temptations of playing frisbee in University Yard and summer songs on repeat, the commitment to remain buried in our books becomes more difficult than ever. And so we need a break. What better reprieve could exist during the most stressful time of the semester than a primal jaunt through Foggy Bottom in our underwear?

School-sanctioned streaking isn’t just a welcome break from the monotony of textbooks and term papers, though. It’s also a tool to infuse the student body with an irrevocable GW pride.

The recent victory in the GW vs. Georgetown snowball fight demonstrates the power of the Colonial spirit when we are joined in a common goal. Last week, that objective was pelting Georgetown students with frozen spheres of water to remind them of our superior strength. We only had one chance to defeat the Hoyas (who knows when we’ll have that much snow again?), and GW rose to the occasion, hoisting ourselves above that school down the road.

With an Undie Run, the goal is a bit less combative. By participating in an event that requires such chutzpah, GW is telling the world: we are loud and proud to be Colonials. An annual Undie Run during finals would become a legacy that graduating students will remember fondly for the rest of their lives.

From a utilitarian perspective, an Undie Run also provides clubs and groups on campus with an array of advertising opportunities. Clubs can market themselves by joining several people together and writing their name on a series of boys’ chests, for example. Runners would be sure to note an invite to an upcoming theater production if its vital information were emblazoned on the back of a girl’s underwear. Blue or red boxers could announce to the District a person’s political party affiliation.

Indeed, we already possess several traditions that are memorable events in every GW student’s life. Fall Fest, Colonial Invasion and judging people who rub the hippo’s nose for luck are all elements of the college experience that belong exclusively to the GW student body. But we can do more. This event could truly provide the perfect farewell to a wonderful school year and leave students begging for more GW as they embark on summer sabbatical.

Of course, some basic standards of decency would have to be observed at an event of such magnitude. Even if you choose to show off your Spongebob Squarepants boxers, a level of maturity is required for an Undie Run to occur. A group of spirited but disciplined Colonials is needed to plan the Undie Run. As we saw with the snowball fight, a little organization can have major returns.

So if you’re in Gelman late one night during finals week and you see a crew of nearly nude students running through Kogan, don’t ask yourself whether there is something weird in the Potomac water. Just take off your clothes, and join in on the fun. Your sanity will thank you.

The writer, a freshman majoring in journalism, is a Hatchet columnist.

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