I am a first-year student, and I already love many aspects of Swarthmore College: the beautiful campus, the unique and compassionate students, the interesting classes, the dedicated professors, and numerous other miscellaneous quirks. I am decidedly not enamored, however, with one very important part of going to Swarthmore: being called a Swattie. Now, please banish the thought that I do not enjoy being a Swarthmore student; that is false. It is simply that the nicknames “Swat” and “Swattie” bring to mind a small, handheld plastic device one would use to demolish flies. I have absolutely nothing against flyswatters, but I would much prefer not to be one.
I am not sure exactly how this nickname for Swarthmore came about, and I mean no offense to those who use it. Historically, however, Swarthmore students went by a name I feel would be vastly superior: “S’more.” Wouldn’t it be much nicer to be a tasty dessert roasted over a campfire than a household implement smeared with fly guts? Besides, a “s’more” brings to mind communal bonfires, goodwill, and peace, which is in keeping with Swarthmore’s Quaker values. Each ingredient in a s’more is equally important (at least, in my opinion), a fact which again suggests the equality of all individuals. In fact, the ingredients must work in concert with one another to form a delectable treat that oozes and crunches and melts satisfyingly in one’s mouth.
Indeed — admissions, are you paying attention? There are a multitude of cheesy (or rather, marshmallowy) analogies ripe for use in Swarthmore’s marketing. For example, a s’more has three parts: marshmallow, chocolate, and graham cracker. Liberal arts has three branches: humanities, social sciences, and S.T.E.M. You cannot be a true S’more without mastering all three components. And imagine what First Collection would be like if we all toasted a marshmallow when we passed around the candle flame! I think my inner light would be much more valuable (and tasty) if I could utilize it to caramelize some sugary goodness. Besides, we all know the real way to attract students to a school is with food. S’mores are even customizable to all kinds of diets; you can use vegan marshmallows, gluten-free graham crackers, fair-trade chocolate … the possibilities are endless. Just think, admissions, you could even improve that classic e-mail persuading high school seniors to apply by telling them, “Clicking an additional box is no more arduous and taxing than toasting another marshmallow.” As a person who would far rather have another marshmallow on my s’more than another pickle on my burger, I can guarantee that that minor alteration will generate more applicants.
The name “S’more” even goes along with our mascot, Phineas the Phoenix. I have always been perplexed about why our mascot is a phoenix, although I’m not complaining because phoenixes are fantastic creatures. On the other hand, if we were S’mores, we could tell everyone that Phineas rises from the ashes of our burnt marshmallows. Also, it would be so much easier to come up with chants at sporting events if we were “S’mores”: “Let’s get s’more points!”, “Let’s score s’more!” and “Go hard-core s’more” come easily to mind. I’m sure you, dear reader, are rolling your eyes in exasperation, but I came up with those in about five seconds whereas I have yet to think of a single cheer that rhymes with “Garnet” or “Swattie” (other than “potty”, which doesn’t really work for obvious reasons). I’m sure such rhymes exist, but it is fall break as I write this and I do not have the brainpower to think of them.
Thus, instead of saying, “I go to a small liberal arts college near Philadelphia,” we could say, “I go to the college with all the S’mores.” Students at other institutions would be begging to transfer. And honestly, for all we grumble about lacking “marketable skills” after college, there are many, many college graduates who can program in five different languages or write a research paper. There are very few college graduates who can craft a perfect s’more. If we are true S’mores, we will be able to tell potential employers and grad schools, “Not only am I well-rounded … but I’m also well-toasted. Evenly. Perfect and golden on all sides.” I’m sure everyone will be jumping at the chance to hire or admit a well-toasted S’more, as we will be the epitome of a thorough liberal arts education. So honestly, we should all swat away the idea that we should wait s’more to become S’mores.
Finally, for those in the class of ’23 group chat who were wondering: yes, I believe a s’more is a sandwich.