Trinity College has long had a reputation as a bastion of conservatism, awash with students enamored by the finer points of “preppy” culture. Patagonia vests, Nantucket reds, and Canada Goose jackets are ubiquitous elements across Trinity’s campus any day of the week. But on Homecoming, the “Chads” and “Beckys” saunter home in full-force, cruising down Vernon in their Jeeps and BMWs, deliberating which fraternity to do the ice luge at. I would contend that it is a near impossibility to escape the veritable tide of privilege that coats the Coop on a Saturday afternoon in late October.
Ray-Bans are a dime a dozen at Jessee/Miller Field, as armies of vest-wearing bois, with their plaid skirt-wearing babes, make their way to the stands to watch all-American football. In the Hansen parking lot, parents, alumni, and Chad’s dads alike mingle in a glorious orgy of prep: from the back of Jeeps, beer is consumed by the barrel, and from the balcony of Psi U one can hear the shout of “shit, bro, I dropped my Juul.”
While it is too late in the season for any woman with good taste to don the floral tones of Lilly Pulitzer, Tory Burch boots—with their shimmering buckles—abound, reflecting the faces of a thousand Beckys reveling in the mellifluous sounds of Pike. The warm pastels of Vineyard Vines are reminiscent of that last gasp of summers at the shore, a season which is still in vogue on the sidewalks of Vernon.
But to depart from humor for a moment, it is at times like Homecoming that the homogeneity of Trinity’s culture is most apparent. This event, alive with the preppy spirit, highlights the marked divide on our campus. There is a significant segment of Trinity’s population that was not represented at Homecoming and we should ask ourselves why that is and what that means for the health and well-being of our community.
If we, as an institution, want to move toward greater inclusivity it is imperative that we examine practices that isolate student populations, intentionally or not. Identifying those aspects of culture that exclude and understanding how to include a wider body of students and alumni is no easy task. Culture and identity seem ingrained and often inseparable from the individual: they define who we are, with whom we interact, and how we are comfortable.
Perhaps, then, the font of cultural change must begin with the individual. When we depart, if only for a moment, from our Homecoming traditions and explore others within the panoply of activities that happen on any given Trinity weekend, we may find ourselves enriched. Our best ally, then, may be our individual capacity to explore other traditions and practices.
Yet as we return to the monotony of our academic lives, empty cans of White Claw still mark the territory where the Beckys once danced, libated and jubilant for their return to Camp Trin. The Tripod suggests that the most immediate way to stem the Chadian tide would be a wholesale rejection of anybody named Becky, Brad, Chad, or Brendan.
-BWC, GMR, AWD