Friday, August 29, 2014

Green Week

Mount freshmen sing a goofy song for a couple of upperclasswomen
circa 1960 during Green Week. They're wearing their official "dinks."
THE MOUNT IS WRAPPING UP Welcome Week, the annual series of events that orient incoming students to life at Chalon and Doheny. Besides the fun and games, Welcome Week comprises a set of rituals that have been going on for a long, long time. Some things don’t change, like introductions to residence life and information about various clubs and activities. And food, parties, and movies.

But some things do. Like… free cigarettes.

We'll get to those in a moment.

"Green Week," as it was known during the 1950s and 1960s, was organized during the previous year by the sophomore class. More than just information, Green Week provided a true initiation to Mount life. Here’s what the schedule looked like for the week of September 22, 1952:

  • Monday - Introduction to Student Government 
  • Tuesday - Lectures by seniors on "Student and Personal Responsibility" followed by a fashion show featuring the proper attire for classes, dances and around the dorm
  • Wednesday - Talks on grading systems, rules and regulations 
  • Thursday - "Frosh Frolics" in the afternoon followed by a movie and mixer evening with freshmen from Loyola University 

"Frosh Frolics," sometimes known as "Freshman Follies," was an annual variety show written, produced, and performed by the incoming freshmen. The purpose was to acquaint the boarders with the day hops, or as we would call them today, resident students and commuters.

A Lucky Strike "prom date" ad from 1952.
In 1952 the "Frolics" theme was "Video Varieties" featuring send-ups of the TV shows of the day (remember, this was the era of "I Love Lucy"). Also on the program were four students doing the Charleston for a "Roaring 20s" number, background music by a newly formed freshman jazz band, a dance performance by the Mount’s Hawaiian students, a skit called "Rocket MSMC" spoofing the harrowing drive up Bundy and Chalon, all interspersed with comedy commercials -- including Lucky Strike cigarettes.

Cigarettes seemed to abound during Green Week. Did the tobacco companies send free samples? Freshmen were required to provide cigarettes for all the faculty and upperclasswomen (juniors and seniors) who asked for them. In fact, smoking was quite popular in those days, with plenty of ashtrays in the student and faculty lounges.

For the non-smokers, freshmen handed out candy bars and lollipops.

Frosh "Mounties" also had to wear their official purple-and-gold "dinks" (beanies) and to perform silly songs on demand. Upperclasswomen could also demand spontaneous military-style marching drills in the Circle. It was a wacky week.

Mount "freshies" were included in other schools' activities. The all-male Loyola U. – the Mount’s “brother” school – hosted an annual freshmen-only picnic for incoming students at the Mount and other Catholic colleges, Immaculate Heart and Marymount.  For a weekend “mixer” at the Mount in late September – swimming party and sock hop for resident students – the Green Week planners invited members of more than sixty fraternities from among local colleges and universities.

Then as now, the fun eventually comes to an end. Classes started up in earnest the following Monday and everyone got down to the hard work of reading, papers and tests. And the sophomores started plotting next year’s Green Week.

If you’d like to know more about life at the Mount over the last 89 years, please browse our online collections of campus newspapers, yearbooks and photos.