Reed students dress as Greek gods outside humanities lecture in 2012. Nudity at a similar event in 2013 prompted a Title IX investigation. Copyright Reed College.
The students who play the part of Greek gods and greet freshmen on their way to the first humanities lecture—collectively known as the Pantheon—will keep their robes on next fall, organizers declared at a community forum held by the Honor Council last week.
“No one will be naked next year,” said environmental studies major Elaine Andersen ’16, one of the HumPlayers, the student group that puts on the Pantheon.
The event, which has been staged for the last five years, typically involves male and female sophomores and upperclassmen who dress up as Greek divinities on the steps of Vollum Lecture Hall and welcome freshmen to their first Hum 110 lecture. The gods ask for libations, and freshmen respond (if they’ve done their homework) by spilling a few drops of coffee or water on the ground, re-enacting an ancient Homeric tradition. “It’s supposed to be fun and silly,” one student explained.
Reedies were out in force in the student union on Saturday, April 20, which has become—for better or worse—an international day of inhalation among cannabis enthusiasts.
Tradition calls for pot smokers to light up their joints at exactly 4:20 p.m., but hundreds of Reed students instead observed the moment by munching on free donuts. As the clock ticked down to 4:20 p.m., the SU was filled not with the skunky odor of marijuana, but with students eagerly anticipating their chance to partake of a communal feast on torus-shaped pastry. And it was all courtesy of the man who has become the most public face of Reed’s policy on alcohol and other drugs (AOD)—Gary Granger, director of community safety.
High fashion and devious fakery abound at Reed's March Madness (Photo from 2005). Photo by Orin Bassoff
Reedies packed the sports center on March 15 for an event they had been waiting for all spring. This wasn’t part of RAW, Reed’s annual arts week; it was a very different type of exhibition—March Madness.
Although March Madness at Reed may not feature as many teams—or as much advertising—as the NCAA version, its passion and intensity are unrivaled. This year marked the event’s 25th anniversary, and it showed in the approximately 200 spectators, participants, and supporters alike, who came out to watch the fun.
March Madness is a one-night, single-elimination tournament, featuring eight teams, compiled of Reed students, alumni, professors, and staff. The contest has its origins in 1989 when the Reed student team, which included Erik Brakstad ’89, was clobbered by a team made up of professors. “I thought to myself, where else would the student team lose to the faculty?” Erik said. He founded the tournament as a chance to get even for the loss, and the mania has only mounted since then.
Portland can be a bit gloomy this time of year, when unremitting rain provides the soundtrack for what can seem like unending final's work. But those grey skies couldn't dampen the spirit of the spring-fall thesis parade, which was celebrated last week in a particularly heartwarming bout of collective effervescence.
Bedecked in colorful costumes and covered in glitter, students danced and hugged each other to the beat of Reed’s drum corps. About 30 seniors hurled their thesis drafts on the bonfire in front of the library as classmates sprayed them with champagne (thankfully the temperature did not dip below the mid 50s).
There are few meals more popular amongst Reedies than pasta with red sauce. When the board points are gone and funds are low, a frugal student can turn a few dollars into a dinner hearty enough to sustain them through the wet chill of fall.
On Saturday, SEEDS (Students for Education, Empowerment, and Direct Service) organized a trip to a homeless shelter in Northeast Portland where students could employ their pasta expertise to help the less fortunate by cooking a giant feast.
From the farthest edges of the globe to the inner mechanics of the cell, Reedies have always loved to explore. Since 1977, Reed's study abroad program, run by the indefatigable Paul DeYoung, has sent out students to see world while making sure they come back in time to graduate. Reedies always return with stories to tell; here we present an occasional report of their adventures.
Amy Egerton-Wiley '13 was born and raised in Los Angeles. She fell in love with Chinese literature when she got to Reed, and decided to make it her major in her sophomore year. That spring she spent a semester abroad at Capital Normal, a Reed-approved university program located in Beijing. She chose Capital Normal (over an American-run program) because she wanted a truly Chinese educational experience, but the school's language-learning program, with its heavy emphasis on memorization, was uninspiring. So Amy to turned Beijing into her school: her Mandarin grew stronger with every conversation on a subway train or in a public park.
It has long been an open secret that Reed's outdoor programs are among the best in the country. Despite our long and storied tradition of exploring the wilderness, however, backpacking trips and whitewater adventures often don't make it into the description of a college better known for pursuing the life of the mind.
Fortunately, Reed has been getting some well-deserved recognition recently with glowing coverage in Outside Magazine and the Wenger outdoor blog.
Plutarch's On the Glory of Athens relates the story of Eucles, the Greek who ran 26 miles from Marathon to Athens bearing the news that the Athenians had miraculously defeated Xerxes' army. After declaring, "We have won!" Eucles promptly died of exhaustion.
Last week bio major Ethan Linck '13 ran almost four times further, jogging 93 miles around Mt. Rainier on the Wonderland trail in just under 27 hours, the fastest unaided solo run ever recorded on that trail. Fortunately, he lived to tell the tale!
Ethan has been running cross country and track since high school, but got interested in 'ultra-running'—punishing long distance runs—at Reed, inspired by the heterogenous terrain and the strong ultra-running community in the Pacific Northwest. On his running blog he describes building up to the Wonderland trail: summer frustrations with similar runs, growing confidence in his own fitness, unexpectedly beautiful weather, and senior anxiety about leaving Oregon with so many adventures unexplored. All this led to the question that has pushed so many Reedies to do something outrageous: "Why not?"
Metaphysical education. Lifeguard Eliya Cohen '15 presents philosophical whiteboard to inquisitive Reed swimmers. Photos by Jenn McNeal '14.
The German philosopher Martin Heidegger said the best place to think philosophy was in a hut deep in the Black Forest while a storm raged outside. That may have been true for Heidegger, but it is not necessarily true at Reed, where a robust metaphysical debate has broken out in an unlikely location--the swimming pool.
Visitors to the sports center will notice that the poolside whiteboard no longer displays lap times and opening hours; over the last month it has sprouted a fascinating sequence of questions, claims, and rejoinders that have grown to fill every square inch. The debate began when philosophy major and lifeguard Eliya Cohen '15 asked fellow philosophy major Finn Terdal '12 to jot down some problems of metaphysics on the whiteboard to ponder during her shifts. The questions soon provoked students, alumni, professors, philosophers, physicists, and other sentient life forms who frequent the pool.
President John Kroger braces for impact as rubber ball of doom hurtles towards its target. Photo by Alex Krafcik '15, courtesy of the Quest.
Perched on a minuscule platform, clad in trunks and a red Orientation t-shirt, Kroger shivered with anticipation as Reedies lined up to throw rubber balls at a bull's-eye target from a distance of roughly 15 feet.
Monday morning, 8:45 a.m. First day of class. As the new crop of freshlings streamed towards Vollum for their first real Hum lecture, laden with backpacks, and clutching coffee cups and water bottles, they were greeted by an unusual spectacle: a veritable pantheon of Greek gods hooting and hollering on the steps outside the lecture hall.
"Libations!" cried the gods. "Libations to honor mighty Zeus!"
For years the porch by the Paradox Café has been graced by an anonymous series of sofas. Coffee-sipping students slouched across them at all hours; their fabric and stuffing distressed by wrappers, cigarette butts, and water damage. Eventually a student union manager would remove a couch for detoxification. A new couch would arrive. Repeat.
The installation of a set of beautiful wooden benches to the Paradox porch last week finally broke the fabric cycle. The 300- to 400-pound sectional benches were hand hewn from a magnificent Douglas fir that stood for nearly 200 years on the east side of campus before falling three winters ago.
As the sun sets on a wet Friday afternoon, students painstakingly finish sawing the archaic log in half. Photos by Alexi Horowitz '13.
Check out the video by Alexi Horowitz '13
Sawdust flew, chips piled up on the ground, and a sweet piney scent permeated the air as the crosscut gnashed its way through the log. The tree was a Douglas fir that had presided over the Great Lawn, right behind the softball backstop, for 130 years. As the story goes, the 100-foot tree fell during the snowy winter of '09, exposing the decayed roots that caused its downfall.
But the tree's story was not over. Marie Perez '12 got the idea to craft a bench out of a giant section of the trunk. She and other Reedies undertook the mammoth task of using a four-foot crosscut saw (old-timey two-person logging saw) to cut the log in half. Students were invited every evening of finals week to put their studying on hold and come out to the west parking lot to help slice the wood. Over 40 students and staff members turned out to help fashion the trunk into a (very) solid bench for all to sit on. It took about 17 hours of solid sawing to completely halve the log.
The bright May morning was filled with enthusiasm and laughter, as family and friends descended on campus to celebrate Reed's 98th Commencement with the 288 members of the class of 2012 under the majestic white tent on the Great Lawn.
The ceremony began to the rousing (or as one senior commented: "awful") sound of bagpipes. Graduating seniors applauded faculty members who guided them during their time at Reed. In an act of symmetry and acclaim, the graduates were then applauded by their professors after they had collected their shiny new diplomas.
In his last commencement speech, President Colin Diver poked fun at graduating with Reed on the "10-year plan." He was surprised nonetheless, when Don Berg '12 shouted from the audience that he had gone to Reed on the 25-year plan. (Don first arrived on campus in 1986!)
Eliot Circle erupted in a flurry of snowballs this morning as upperclassmen enacted a relatively new tradition, the Pelting of the Freshmen, after the final Hum 110 lecture of the academic year.
Unidentified upperclassmen (rumored to include Seth Douglas '13 and Jeremy Lawrence '12) drove a pickup truck to Mount Hood, loaded the bed with snow, and lay in wait for the unwary freshlings to emerge from Vollum. Cheers rent the air as the youngsters streamed down the steps and the icy fusillade commenced.
Reed has just announced that Oregon Attorney General John Kroger will be the college's 15th president.
"John impressed us with his brilliance and clarity, advocacy for the primacy of the liberal arts education, and his commitment to the mission and vision of Reed College," said board chair Roger Perlmutter '73. "We are very excited about his arrival on campus this summer."
For five hours on Friday, April 13, Reed's strongest soccer players battled for the championship and its rewards: plastic medals bestowed by soccer coach and event organizer Larry Beutler.
The soccer tournament follows on the heels of the March Madness basketball tournament, and takes a similar form; eight teams of six players each square off with round-robin-style elimination.
Almost 200 Reed students, alumni, professors, and staff volunteered their time for the Centennial Day of Service on Saturday, restoring native habitat in Oaks Bottom, building a toolshed for a day-labor community center, and repairing books for low-income children.
The event, organized by SEEDS (Students for Education, Empowerment, and Direct Service), celebrated Reed's tradition of community service with a battery of projects throughout Portland that left a positive mark on the city—and on the participants.
SEEDS earned glowing reviews from students. Jennifer Caamano '12, who has volunteered with SEEDS all four of her years at Reed and now works as an intern with the Lane After-School Education with Reed (LASER) program, enthused that "it's super easy to just hop in a van and do service projects... It makes it really accessible." Shelly Skolfield '14, who reported having worked with SEEDS for "seven minutes," was no less enthusiastic. "It seems like it's going to be awesome," she said.
"Reed jus ah stress mi out…and that means reed is stressing me out," said Shanee Harriot '15 setting off the audience into splits of laughter. Shanee's Jamaican-English creole routine was only one of the performances that delighted the audience at the International Festival, held on April 1. There were no stand up acts but Shanee made sure that everyone at the SU that afternon had a good laugh, "jah know ah weh mi ah go do fi get dis ya work done, mi salt to bauxide!" (Oh my God what am I going to do to get this work done? I'm screwed!)
International Festival, organized by the International Student Advisory Board (ISAB) is an annual celebration of Reed's cultural diversity. The center of the festival was the student union, which had vibrant flags of all the countries represented at Reed draped across its rafters. "I didn't know Reed had students from so many countries," remarked one observer who dropped into the SU because he heard music and laughter streaming out. That was exactly one of the reasons why ISAB was eager to promote the presence of the 116 international students from 35 nations at Reed by having everyone share a piece of their culture.
Two semesters ago, I was DJ at KRRC. Broadcast on Friday afternoons, "Get Naked Radio"--a showcase of electronic dance music that my friends and I put together every week--was slotted between several hours of dead air. This came as a bit of a surprise to us, as we initially believed Friday afternoons, sandwiched between my last class in Eliot Hall and dinner at Commons--was "prime time" for KRRC. Right.
As the semester unfolded, we began to grasp the hard truth that no one was listening. Even on days when the transmitter was functioning properly, our broadcasting radius barely extended beyond the library. And those who would hypothetically listen to Get Naked Radio--our friends--were usually sitting on the beat-up couches strewn across the radio station.
So I was sad but hardly surprised when KRRC terminated its 100-watt terrestrial broadcast last year. In fact, November 30, 2011 marked the last day that KRRC broadcast on the FM dial. Reed has since donated its FM license to the non-profit grassroots group Common Frequency.The move came at the heels of a year-long saga that ultimately ended in KRRC losing its frequency (97.9) to KRNQ, a commercial alternative rock station owned by Cumulus Media. This was the third time KRRC had been bumped from its frequency by a commercial station. (For context: commercial stations can essentially "overtake" KRRC's frequency because of their high power broadcasting license. KRRC's broadcasting license, a secondary-service license phased out by the FCC in 1978, only allows for a broadcast radius the size of campus, if not smaller.)