The 49 Year Streaking Streak


Credit: Savannah Walske

It’s 8:00 p.m. on a Monday night, and I’m sitting on a little ledge in the library staircase right next to the third floor entrance. That’s when the rumbling starts. Cheers arise, and I think, ‘That’s odd, this is a quiet floor and it’s finals week.’ As soon as I swing my legs off the ledge to investigate, I am face to face with several naked bodies.

It’s my first year at college, and I’m barely a couple months in, trying to have a mellow night and email a professor. Instead, I’m curled against the wall, panic laughing, listening to the thuds of bare feet on the concrete stairs and trying not to make eye contact with any naked people.

They soon disappear to the second floor, but I am too speechless to continue my email. In about an hour, through several anonymous interviews, I meet the ringleader, a freshman streaker, two nordic skiers, student witnesses and a library employee. 

Turns out, there were two streaking events on Monday, December 12. 

In the morning, the men’s nordic skiing team took a nude run around Alumni Walk and Commons. There were not many witnesses to this streaking but one of the team members did see their senior thesis advisor. Surely that was fun for both of them.

Ana Moreno ‘26 witnessed the streaking on the first morning of finals week. 

“It was so absurd… I was basically ready to shut down, ready for my body to go into a catatonic state and just start f*cking going at it, academically weaponizing myself,” she said. “I was ready to be f*cking benign all week, and then I was just woken up… it was an awakening.”

“I thought it was funny… a lot of naked bodies… a lot of very shriveled, cold penises… it was silly,” Moreno said.

Later that night, around 15 members of the cross country team streaked through the library. Gabriel Coffey ‘23 estimates the group contained 10 men and four to five women. 

Women on the team have been streaking for at least four years, though in significantly fewer numbers. An anonymous member of the team that didn’t participate noted that there were no people of color streaking. 

“We try to create an inclusive environment where no matter how you identify or where you’re from, you should be able to do this, you should feel comfortable doing this,” Coffey said.

According to two streakers on the cross country team, this tradition is completely voluntary and not an act of hazing. Coffey describes it as a team-bonding exercise.

So, perhaps you’re wondering, how long has this been happening?

A senior on the cross country team recalled hearing rumors about the streaking for at least 10-15 years before them. “At least one part of our team’s streaking tradition has been around since ‘88,” the senior said. That’s 34 years.

However, volume 101 number 07 of The Student published a streaking article by Karen Olson on March 21, 1974 called “Streaking, Officially.” In this edition, the word ‘streaking’ is mentioned a total of 20 times in several different articles. This dates the streaking tradition even further to almost 50 years.

The streaking tradition even prevailed during the pandemic. Streakers still masked up, according to Coffey.

But what’s the point?

“We just want people to have something to laugh about…lighten the mood,” an anonymous senior streaker said.

Coffey adds, “It’s pretty euphoric… especially when you’ve been pent up in the library actually working… it’s a good little study break.” 

“It was funny seeing people look uncomfortable [and some] really excited…I hope I encouraged them to study really hard,” an anonymous streaker said.

There is little to no backlash within the Bates community. Even in Olson’s “Streaking, Officially,” President Reynolds (who served 1967 to 1989) stated, “I don’t think the college is at all uptight about this… people have been streaking in the spring since the Fifteenth Century.” 

The streakers will not be stopped anytime soon. This tradition will likely appear again in April when the winter semester comes to a close. 

Editor’s Note: Gabriel Coffey is the Managing Forum Editor for The Student. We do not let him streak in the newsroom.