Alumni and 'shmen sweep campus

by Bonfire Building 101: The | 10/31/97 6:00am

Every year, the freshman class takes a major part in defining the character of Homecoming Weekend by building, and then running around, a huge bonfire with the last two digits of their year on its top.

According to tradition, the class year dictates the number of tiers the bonfire is constructed of, as well as the number of times the freshmen circle the blazing structure on Dartmouth Night.

This year's Freshman Bonfire Committee was faced with a special problem when they planned the impressive structure now being constructed in the center of the Green.

The problem: how many tiers for the Class of '01?

Rather than erect one lonely tier which the freshman class would run around exactly once, the Class of 2001 is building 101 tiers, some of them made of popsicle sticks, in a two-day marathon construction process consisting of eight two-hour shifts from 8 a.m. until dark on Thursday and Friday.

The structure of the bonfire is determined by the shape and size of the beams used.

After the maximum height was restricted for safety reasons to 60 feet in the 1980s, classes had to be creative in their methods of getting the tiers to equal their class number.

The '01s have used popsicle sticks to get the extra "tiers."

The Bonfire Committee has urged the freshmen to participate, publicizing the event on posters in the dormitories and the Dining Halls.

Students were assigned to their time by residence hall to ensure that enough freshmen became involved in the construction of the bonfire, and to keep the construction process well-organized. Last night, the bonfire was guarded by Safety and Security to prevent students from climbing onto the structure.

The bonfire will be lit following the Freshman Sweep, Torchlight Parade and a ceremony in front of Dartmouth Hall. The Sweep will begin at 7:40 this evening in the River Cluster and will continue past the Gold Coast, to the Choates, past the Fayerweather dormitories and on to the East Wheelock cluster.

The Freshman Sweep will gather the entire freshman class, which will then join the rest of the student body, visiting alumni and members of the Upper Valley community for the Torchlight Parade.

After the speeches in front of Dartmouth Hall, and music by the Glee Club and Marching Band, members of the Class of 2001 will run around the bonfire over and over again, in hopes of reaching the "magic number" of 101 laps.