Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
In an attempt to enliven this year’s orientation, twelve boys and twelve girls from the incoming class will be selected by lottery to compete in a televised battle to the death.
“We anticipate some criticism about the gendered nature of the event, and all of that — you can fill in the blank — but overall I think this is going to be a really good orientation,” said Floory Powers, Coordinator of Student Activities. “This is the most mainstream freshman class we have ever seen. We are trying to cater to their interests.”
An arena will be blocked off in Crum Woods for the festivities, with the 24 participating students occasionally herded into the amphitheater to expedite the culling process. In accordance with the college’s Quaker values, no weapons will be supplied, and tributes will be expected to kill each other with their bare hands or found objects. The Ville’s historic fire department horn will be used to signal human losses to the student body.
“[The horn] kind of sounds like a mortally wounded goose,” explained Helen Hanchez-Suerta ’13, one of this year’s Orientation Coordinators.
The 24 tributes will be selected from the twelve CA groups, with Mary Lyons residents excluded from the lottery.
“The assumption is that ML students have a congenital knowledge of role playing games, and that that would be an unfair advantage,” said Schenjamin Bwartz ’13. “However, a select number of ML residents will be allowed to volunteer for a place in the games.”
The reaping will take place in front of the creepy red tree near Beardsley. Immediately following, the select group of students will begin training in a special “tributes-only weight room” in the field house. Alex Dimepiece-Anderson ’13, a Swat Style Snapshot veteran, will serve as personal stylist to all 24 tributes because no one else at Swarthmore is capable of making fashion decisions.
Members of the Orientation Committee explained the reasoning behind the event. “We have this huge TV in Sharples, you know, and nothing to do with it,” said Orientation Coordinator Meddie Entenegro ’13. “We really want to utilize that resource. Create a community space.”
Hanchez-Suerta agrees. “It’s important that this event is a safe space for everyone except the 23 students who will die.”
The administration explained other benefits of the event, including the excuse to parade the Phoenix mascot around campus. “We know that it looks like a chicken, but it’s not,” said a spokesperson for the Athletics Department.
Bim Jock, Dean of Admissions, noted that this year’s inordinate number of human sacrifices will ensure good weather at Ride the Tide for years to come. Several environmental science professors have suggested the bodies be harvested for Local Foods Night, and Delta Upsilon has volunteered to collect the corpses as part of their fall service project.
“The whole thing was inspired by the housing lottery,” said Hachel Red, Assistant Dean for Residential Life. “Because, you know, it’s a lottery, but also because we just don’t have enough housing for all these students.”
“I’m very excited,” said Vice President Eurice Meldridge, who believes this will be a bountiful year for his blood drive.