Student Life

From the Archives
Streakers streak in Wriston Quad

February 21st, 2024

The rousing opening bars of “The Lone Ranger” theme split the cold night air. But instead of “Hi ho, Siiilver,” a pack of streakers came roaring out of the Delta Tau fraternity house and sprinted furiously around the Wristen Quadrangle amid cheers and shrieks of delight from the 400 or so cold-but-eager on-lookers.

BAM archival illustration of a streaker with the word "STREAK"
The Ivy Room used the streaker phenomenon to its own advantage.Illustration: LEO

Not to be outstripped by Harvard and Columbia, Brown students declared to stage a “mass streak” at midnight one cold evening in early March. It was hard to tell who had come just to watch and who had spent the evening quaffing beer at the Sigma Chi (Swyndlestock) open bar, but once the ice had been broken, others were quick to join in.

Some believe streaking is the Seventies’ version of goldfish-swallowing and flagpole-sitting. When asked why students are suddenly baring all, one sophomore replied, “Because there's really nothing else to do—protest is definitely out.” Says another student: “Streaking is a spontaneous thing. You get lots of guys together drinking beer and you get rowdy and you just do it.”

The rest of the campus was quick to pick up on the new craze. A “Streakers Ball,” featuring free admission for streakers, was planned for mid-March, but was cancelled when University officials insisted that extra security guards and local policemen be hired at the expense of the ball’s organizers. Even Joe’s sandwich shop on Benefit Street has gotten into the act. They have a new sandwich called “The Streaker”—it’s tuna on rye and takes on ten seconds to make.    

Originally appeared in Brown Alumni Monthly, March 1974, Vol. 74, no 6.

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