The sound of fists pounding on doors, feet pounding the ground, and senior’s shouts are the signal that Ditch Day has come. It’s time to gather in the courtyard, join a stack, and embark on an adventure. For the underclassmen, it’s pure Christmas Morning. Like Christmas, it always starts the same way, but beyond that, who knows what the day will bring.

For the seniors, 7:45am on Ditch Day morning is some combination of space shuttle launch, sending a kid off to college, and marathon-ending sprint.  Years of plotting, months of building, several days of all-out-effort all about to be put to the test.

Some of the underclassmen are already dressed and ready to sprint out their doors as soon as they are free of seniors’ fists, others foolishly think they have time to mozy through a leisurely shower. (Hint: you don’t, as you were told every time you pulled that stunt during fake ditch days.) All make their way to the courtyard, which is now circled by sign-up posters for each stack.

The sign ups range from handwritten pieces of paper to massive, laminated works of art. Sometimes there’s a correlation between how much effort was put into a stack and the quality of the poster, but sometimes quite the opposite can happen – so much effort was put elsewhere that the poster ends up as an afterthought. Basically, choosing a stack based on its poster is generally a bad idea.


Alumni roam the courtyard, encouraging the underclassmen to investigate all the possible stacks and then cluster around the sign-up sheet for their chosen adventure. One alumnus acts as the ‘Barker,’ constantly reminding the sleepy eyed underclassmen of the rules of priority (frosh first, social moles last, etc.) and pointing out where all the different options are located. There is inevitable drama when there are more prospective stackees than slots for them, with no strict process for who must leave and who gets to stay.

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Eventually though, each stack has the right number of stackees and all wait intently as the ‘official Blacker Clock’ counts down until 8:00. And then it begins.