HUNTER SAVERY ’20
Trinity College was founded in 1823, nearly 200 years ago, and has built a strong reputation for itself in the intervening years. Yet anyone that knows Camp Trin is aware that it struggles in the area of maintaining a cohesive community, or even, as some would argue, maintaining a community at all. There are many factors influencing the lack of community at Trinity, from the affluent WASPy influence to the lack of campus activism to the general apathy that pervades our little bubble. The communal woes of the college could be chalked up to any of the above and many other issues, but there is one thing that is particularly unusual for a college that came of age during the presidency of James Monroe; an apparent lack of genuine tradition.
Yes, of course, there is the lemon squeezer and the cursed plaque, and complaining about the food at Mather. Unfortunately, I doubt there are many students on campus who know anything about the lemon squeezer, or care about it at all for that matter. Kitchen devices hardly make for compelling traditions. As for the plaque, there are plenty of people who walk around it on the Long Walk, but there are many similar plaques at colleges around the country at places like Brown, Johns Hopkins, and even fellow NESCAC Hamilton. All of the plaques carry the same superstition that stepping on them will prevent the offending student from graduating. The haunted plaque, which actually marks the site of a speech given by President Theodore Roosevelt, may make for a lasting tradition, but avoiding a piece of sidewalk has never built a community. As for other long held traditions, there are few. There is the Bantam and some fantastic architecture, but those are not traditions. Recently the administration has recognized the issue of community at Trinity and there have been attempts to revive or instill tradition at the college, but the gestures often seem forced and are met by the student body with something less than enthusiasm. Even the Festival of Lessons and Carols, a seemingly classic sign of the Christmas season at Camp Trin, is a recent invention. In truth, there are only a few great traditions at Trinity and they mostly revolve around drinking. There is homecoming a tradition at many schools that is given a “Trinity twist” with all of the Range Rovers and golden retrievers. For once the college actually looks how it appears in brochures, that is until one spots the parents drink-ing on the lawns of the frats with their children. The Hansen parking lot, and Vernon Street as a whole, becomes jammed with Bantams of all ages participating in the only true Trinity tradition, drinking. The debauchery during Spring Weekend only confirms the suspicion that drinking is the only tradition binding us Bantams together. Not to mention the destructive pow-er of Trinity’s favorite sport, “Quadding”, which though tremendously enjoyable, always destroys the grass of one of America’s greatest quads.
Goldberg’s knows the communal power of drinking all too well, that is why almost all of their profits come from late night orders. Unfortunately, Goldberg’s is another tradition about to fall by the wayside. With its impending closure, Trinity will lose the common experience of mozzarella sticks at 1:30 in the morning.
If Trinity is interested in fostering community, it needs to dig deep within its rich his-tory and find something better than a lemon squeezer and more healthy and constructive than drinking together. With nearly 200 years of heritage one would think it would be easier to find a tradition worth keeping. It is not that there is no tradition at Camp Trin, the emphasis is just put in the wrong places. Forget the lemon squeezer. Let’s celebrate the overlooked aspects of our college: Medusa, the Trinity Film Festival, and sledding on stolen Mather trays. Tradition is there and need not be forced by the administration.
HUNTER SAVERY ’20