Full frontal on the Quad

Oct. 27, 2010, 1:02 a.m.

Stanford’s make out en masse is back in action

Full frontal on the Quad
Sex Ray at Full Moon on the Quad. The fall tradition has come a long way since early Stanford students kissed and exchanged roses in front of Memorial Church a century ago. (JIN ZHU/The Stanford Daily)

Legend has it that back in the day, when the first full moon came, two lines of students would form in front of Memorial Church. Seniors donning coy smiles held roses in one line. In the other, freshmen waited to be kissed and complete their matriculation.

The lines and lips met at midnight, and with the passing of a rose, the senior class welcomed freshmen to Stanford under a full moon.

That was more than a century ago. Nowadays, Full Moon on the Quad has evolved into an event that bucks all tradition. After a full day of reflection on the event, students are telling their stories, sometimes incredulously. As Citlalli Sandoval ’14 asked, “What would my grandma say?”

They recall Monday night: to start off, a crowd forms in front of Old Union. Seniors, some donning only body paint, hold freshman-dorm bingo cards. Freshmen wait to hear Super Mash Bros and forget their midterms.

Steadily the crowd grows as students pile into the courtyard of Old Union. Super Mash Bros mount the stage and project a modified Lakers logo onto the building.

“Stanford, how you feeling?” the performers ask, receiving a unanimous, barbaric “yawp” in reply, and the party begins with a video of a space shuttle launch.

Frenetic music bounces off the architecture that houses the dancing undergrads. The concert provides students their first chance to pair off, and between songs some begin the night’s infamous activity a bit prematurely.

After an hour, the temperature in Old Union is noticeably nearer to 98.6 degrees. Super Mash Bros exit the stage.

“Have fun at your makeout session,” they say to the incandescent crowd, and the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band takes over where they leave off.

Pouring out of Old Union and into White Plaza, students listen to the Band’s loud cacophony. Some sport costumes, others dress casually, and still others wear nothing at all.

Soon, they’re all headed for the Main Quad. While procuring “consent is sexy” stickers, students welcome Full Moon on the Quad back to Stanford under a waning gibbous moon.

Hundreds of participants shuffle in past the lime-green-shirted “sober monitors” tasked with keeping out crowd members who lack SUIDs. Peer health educators hand out Hershey’s kisses at tables covered in condoms and mouthwash. Cops roam the perimeter.

The dancing tree sways in the center of the amorphous group of students from all four classes.

There’s no countdown to midnight or any indication of when to begin kissing, but the kissing starts just the same. Bingo cards composed of dorm names provide a challenge for certain participants looking to make out with a freshman from each.

By the end of the night, the ground is covered with fake roses and the crowd has dwindled. In the morning, the Quad will return to its main function as the academic nucleus of the University, but for a few more moments, all tradition is dead.

Or maybe not all tradition. Did this iconoclastic Full Moon on the Quad event provide freshmen an adequate welcome to Stanford? A few weigh in.

“The event was hyped up and failed to meet my expectations,” said Daniela Parra ’14. “Not many people actually wanted to kiss, and they were just standing around.”

“It wasn’t as bad as I expected it to be,” said Amanda McFarlane ’14. “I was expecting this huge orgy.”

Victoria Virasingh ’14 wondered, “What’s up with all the naked people?”

“The naked people make it,” countered Duncan Lindsey ’14. “There’s an awesome Stanfordian ridiculousness that is necessary to not take ourselves and everyone else seriously for one night.”

And “other than the herpes,” said Dan Thompson ’13, “it was great.”

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