Go climb a mountain!
President Adam Falk has cancelled classes, and the bells are ringing out “The Mountains,” signifying the start of Mountain Day 2011.
The tradition has evolved over the decades and has its origins in two class holidays, Chip Day and Gravel Day, that date to at least as early as 1800. Those days were in the spring and were all about cleaning up the campus after a long winter. In 1827, Williams President Edward Dorr Griffin made reference to a holiday “to go upon the mountain,” and in 1857, the college instituted Bald Mountain Day, a springtime class-free day on which students were encouraged to be outdoors. By 1874, a fall counterpart had been established, setting the course for today’s Mountain Day, a spontaneous break from classes on a Friday in October.
The celebration has expanded from a single trek up Mt. Greylock to a full day of festivities, including an all-campus picnic, hikes over Mt. Greylock, a team adventure race, a party on Stony Ledge, and an evening polar bear swim.