UNCOVERED: Outdoor Action Developed as Quasi-Military Training for Frosh

An undated photo of Staff Sergeant Curtis and a freshman who appeared on campus rather worse for wear.

Upon the return of the intrepid members of the Class of 2014 who emerged from their respective wilderness adventure (myself included), documents from the early 1970s have been leaked that reveal the true impetus behind the creation of the Outdoor Action program; a sort of “welcome-to-college-lower-your-standards-NOW” eco-minded boot-camp. Rather than the romanticized and well-advertised friend-building campaign, in reality, Outdoor Action assimilates and subdues doe-eyed new recruits to campus.

Now, the motivation for this program appears unclear, other than the appearance on campus of a certain Staff Sergeant R. Curtis, who sought to reduce the volume of coeducational complaining, which in 1973 was entering its fourth year. But it was not just the complaining that required remedying; it was the invisible divisions between the recruits — hygiene habits, personal phobias, allergies, sleeping habits, etc. In order to create a cohesive student body, all the aforementioned divisions had to be radically and thoroughly eliminated through a weeklong regimen of physical fitness, minimal hygiene, Mafioso, substandard meals, little to no shelter, Penguins Coming to Tea, massive backaches, and sending the frosh into a state of Bananas (!!) in general.

The documents specify the areas of college life that the recruits would be trained in: walking great distances over varied terrain — be it backwoods trails or chipped and cracking slate sidewalks — with great loads and burdens; tents and tarps or books, books, and books (and now, even, a computer! No doubt a test of true strength and poor judgment if actually executed in the seventies); perhaps most notably, the issues of housing and dining. The documents detail the philosophy of Staff Sergeant Curtis and his associates as detailed in one uncovered telephone transcript…

[Name redacted]: “Tell me again, why the hell are we doing this, other than getting lost in the woods with some ladies who may or may not complain?

S. Sergeant Curtis: “ LOOK, [name redacted], put yourself into their little crisp boat shoes! If you think your dormitory is a slum, compared to your minimal shelter strung between the trees, it is a palace. Similarly, if the thought of routinely choking down cafeteria food makes you squirm, try eating our bland grains, kibble-esque cereals, and tortilla-centric meals out of your dirt and cheese–crusted camp bowl for a week. …..MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAH — uh… the point is, cafeteria food is for the gourmand, you pansy, you.”

Understandably, for me, as well as other frustrated frosh, it all suddenly makes so much more sense. I live, eat and breathe this campus. No seriously, I just had to LNT some damn tortilla chip crumbs that spilled out of my backpack and I think I also ate some lichen that got under my fingernails near Nassau Hall when I had to relieve myself against one of those trees… no, but seriously, I used hand sanitizer first.

–LIS ’14

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