homesickness, coping with a difficult roommate match, or juggling a heavy
course-load are among the growth experiences that can challenge first-year
students, circa 2005. But those hurdles pale compared to the rites of
passage of a century ago when the infamous Proc Night activities pitted
freshman against sophomore in class-on-class battles.
Night poster, such as the edition above, was fortunate to survive. The
game went like this: Sophomores would paste the insulting posters around
Burlington with the freshmen in hot pursuit. The freshmen would
tear down the proclamations, invariably resulting in a scrap.
writes Jeffrey Marshall 78 G82 in his book Universitas Viridis
Montis, 1791-1991. And, with just a bit of editorial bafflement peeking
through, the University archivist adds, In this manner members of
the classes apparently developed a sense of identity.
Night grew rowdier and more dangerous, the University worked to draw activities
back to campus. Tragically, it would take the death of a freshman in a
supervised boxing match in 1920 to bring an end to Proc Night. At the
urging of the Boulder Society, among others, the University scrapped the
scrapping for good.
Thanks to Prudence Doherty, staff member at Special Collections, who curated a recent display of UVM posters in the Bailey/Howe Library.