As with most colleges, campus jokes and pranks are a beloved part of the Whitworth experience. Though they may morph and fade over time, they live on in the recollections of alumni who remember each detail of the merriment as though it were just yesterday.
Here is just a sampling of the goings-on at Whitworth over the years:
Many pranks stemmed from the dining hall, including “troughing,” a popular prank in the 1980s-90s: students used a vinyl Saga tablecloth to create a trough into which they poured their glasses of water, sending the water coursing onto the lap of some poor unsuspecting student seated at the end of the table. Students also “borrowed” trays for sledding and cutlery on Halloween.
Hall bathrooms were a hotbed for pranks. Showerheads in South Warren were filled with beef bouillon cubes, providing students with a savory rinse to start their day. Other pranksters filled the showerheads with Jell-O powder for a colorful effect. Drains were plugged in Baldwin-Jenkins to create a home for goldfish. And Saran Wrap was a popular toilet covering in virtually every dorm.
Then there were the pranks roommates and hallmates played on each other: rearranging or removing dorm furniture has lived on for generations, as have buckets of water in the doorway, floors covered in water-filled Dixie cups, and – because it’s Whitworth – beds filled with pine cones.
Study-abroad trips were not immune; on one France study tour in the 1980s, students rifled through a classmate’s luggage and each arrived at breakfast the next morning having donned one of his sweaters.
Warren Hall was haunted by the “White Phantom,” which appeared in the windows while the building was under construction in the 1950s and stalked couples looking for a little privacy.
The Society of Streakers originated at Whitworth in 1965 and was one of the largest organized pranks: men, wearing only running shoes, raced past the row of women’s dormitories on snowy nights. Gail Fielding, ’62, recalls the time she out-pranked the next generation of these pranksters in the 1980s, setting the streakers on a frantic search after she moved their clothing during their football halftime “show.”
An alum from the 1960s who had returned to campus in 2009 for a tour took a detour to check out his old room in Arend Hall – mostly to see if the block of Limburger cheese he had hidden in the ceiling vent was still stinking up the place. (It wasn’t.)
In 1988, Mac Men set 1,000 crickets free in Stewart Hall. In the ’90s, frantic chickens flapped around the second floor of Baldwin-Jenkins while a fire alarm rang at 4 a.m., the night before a Core 150 test.
On April Fools Day in 1993, the Whitworth switchboard lit up with inquiries about a real-estate ad in The Spokesman-Review that offered 40 acres for sale in a beautiful area of north Spokane.
Finally, one 1935 alum attending his 60th reunion took pride in telling then-alumni director Tad Wisenor, ’89, about the time he stole into the attic of the chapel (then in McMillan Hall) and slipped an alarm clock down between the wall boards. The alarm went off in the middle of the chapel service’s sermon, and the notoriously long-winded speaker was forced to cut his message short until the clock alarm wound down, several minutes later.