I just got back from a visit to my alma mater. The student body has always been known for their free-spirited sense of humor.
But you should never let them name anything.
In the 1970’s, in an attempt to distance themselves from the racially charged “Indians” sports team nickname, the students were polled four separate times to come up with a new mascot. The first two suggestions were rejected as being disrespectful of the school’s founder, Leland Stanford. So we weren’t “The Robber Barons” or “The Drunken Welshmen.” The students were then encouraged to come up with something more unique that might represent an aspect of campus life. So they selected “The Steaming Manhole Covers.” Nobody could see that rolling off of Keith Jackson’s tongue, so it too was rejected. Finally, the students were encouraged to consider Stanford’s proud athletic heritage and maybe use a nickname associated with the sports program. They opted for the nickname of the offensive line that blocked for Jim Plunkett in the 1971 Rose Bowl. Could we actually be “The Thunder Chickens?”
Alas, it was not meant to be. The administration finally took the decision out the student body’s hands and did what it usually did during the first 75 years of Stanford’s existence. They copied Harvard. They’re “The Crimson.” We’re “The Cardinal.” Blech.
But of late, they have allowed students to name the dormitories and modular buildings where they live and work. So behold some examples of what the best and the brightest can do when they are given a modicum of freedom.
Yes, on the shores of Lake Lagunita, (literally “Lake Little Lake”) are student residences named Jerry (after Garcia), Narnia (after the fantasy kingdom) and The Enchanted Broccoli Forest (after a cookbook.)
As a senior, I was the Resident Assistant in the American Studies theme house, which was formally known as “Robert Moore House South,” or informally “RoMoHoSo.” Apparently even that much has proven to be too much of a mouthful for the residents, so they simply renamed it “Bob.”
Finally, I walked past two trailers which housed the offices of some environmental engineering grad students.
“Bambi.” Aww, how sweet and bucolic for a bunch of tree-hugger types. Of course, you know what had to be right next door.