The Art of Bermuda Shorts Day

Most universities have a few long-standing traditions that recur on an annual basis. These events help foster a sense of community among the student body, provide a means to engage the campus in a common celebration, mark the passage of time, and create a sense of continuity between current students and all of the alumni who have come before them.  Sociologically speaking, these events also serve to demarcate members of a given social group -if you’re one of us, you can participate (or have in the past); if you’re not, you can’t.

At my alma mater, there is an event called Bermuda Shorts Day (BSD) that takes place on the last day of classes each year. BSD was first held in 1966, and it started out as an innocent way to celebrate the end of the academic year with fun, games, and bermuda shorts (of course).

A lot has changed in the past 46 years, and BSD has evolved (or devolved, depending on how you look at it) into a booze-fuelled day of couch races, concerts, ridiculous outfits, beer gardens, shameless marketing by massive companies (free Mountain Dew anyone?), and unabashed debauchery. BSD is kind of like a hybrid between Hallowe’en, New Years, and St. Paddy’s Day…but nearly all of the participants are in their early 20s. Eek.

As bad as all of this sounds, it’s hard not to love BSD…unless you’re in charge of security or cleaning up after the event.

BSD 2012 took place on campus yesterday, so I took the opportunity to snap a few shots of the inventive ways the public art is included in the celebration. Every year the following landmarks are dressed in bermuda shorts, and I’ve always wanted to catch someone in the act of dressing them…

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