Damn! That’s a Penis: A First-Year Perspective on the Bell Run

ZOE HEINZ, Contributor

I had not been on campus for more than twelve hours before I was confronted with a completely naked man. Now, the human body is a wonderful thing, and I am not what anyone would call “feeble minded,” but, damn, that’s a penis.

I had heard something about running with the president of the college, and rumors of a traditional run on the first day of snow. But it wasn’t snowing. And I very much hoped that this naked man was not the one making important decisions about my education.

So, there I stood, at the Wall, wondering where all the beer was coming from and how much the naked man had to have ingested to run nude through the street.

After learning about the bell run, and a variety of stories associated with the tradition—from the importance of not touching the bell, to how to get a free pizza—I started to realize what a beautiful thing a bell run is.

At Beloit, when students get drunk, some strip naked and run through the streets.  As an 18 year old who has spent most of her life with clothed, sober people, the positive body image required to participate in this tradition makes me proud to be a Beloiter.

After the first few bell runs of the year, I am becoming less shocked by nudity and increasingly inspired by it. Yes, that is a penis, and, yes, I have breasts. But these features do not mean we cannot all run naked through the streets together, celebrating our freedom from the confines of clothes.

In an age seemingly overrun with fears of judgment and negative projections of nudity, I can see few better ways to bond with fellow classmates than to literally strip away our outward notions of self and, for a moment, be nothing but ourselves.



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