The beginning of the school year ontgroening began this past week, with the first batch of students lining up along our street Saturday morning, and the next batch this past Thursday morning. I’ve gotten some fun shots over the years and got another series yesterday that I’m really happy with. Looking through the window, I could see the students from the legs down and there seemed to be a lot of them wearing good ol’ Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars. With the effects I was getting shooting through (dirty) glass and the brick streets and walls, the whole image made me think of some sort of slightly artsy advert for the brand, a bit like the old Levi’s 501 commercials. I even got a shot with a dog. Classic!
I was up early this morning and found myself wondering if the annual student invasion of the street was going to be tomorrow or next weekend, since they didn’t seem to be around yet. I’ve been expecting them all week. A little later, I heard some noise and saw someone walking past wearing a morning coat and carrying a walking stick. Aha! I was simply up before they were!
So yes, today was the annual induction/introduction/initiation/something-or-other at one of the student associations. Unitas, perhaps? I still don’t know exactly what they get up to or the reasoning behind this little ritual, but it always amuses me nonetheless. The (new?) students line up along the street with bags and sleeping bags and slowly work their way down the street to the back entrance of one of the associations. They’re watched over by upperclass (?) students — although only male students, even though the ones in line are both genders — and are occasionally given instructions by these well-dressed guardians. Every year they wear morning suits and drink champagne throughout the process. I don’t think all associations are quite so glamorous.
There were a few things this year that were either new or that I just hadn’t noticed last year. For one thing, some of the students seemed to be singing the national anthem (multiple verses) throughout part of the morning. Secondly, toward the end of the morning, some of the last ones still to go started pulling out matching white tablecloths/sheets and started going through their bags and putting various items out on the sheet on the ground. It looked a bit like Queen’s Day, the national yardsale day.
There didn’t seem to be much rhyme nor reason to what they pulled out, although it did sound like they were given a list of items to put out. The upperclassmen seemed to be reading of cards of certain items. Whether they were contraband or simply a silly game, I have no idea. There seemed to be toilet paper and plastic plates among the items set out, so maybe the association was trying simply to stock up on some necessary items.
From what I saw last year, similar events are going on around town for various student associations. It’s a bit warm and humid today, but hey, at least it’s not raining. 😉