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Elfing
Sneaky Sophomores, Happy Firstyears

 
1987 poster announcing the start of Elfing .courtesy MHC Archives.
 
Candy done up to make a "flower garden," left outside an Elfee's door, 1989. courtesy MHC Archives
 
 
 

Elfing is perhaps one of the most looked forward to of firstyear-centered traditions. In this class interaction based tradition, there isn't the superiority and demeaning that marks the other similar traditions.

Out of bad comes good - When the Class of 1966 were firstyears, they were, most unfortunately, very obnoxiously hazed during Hazing Day. Concerned by this, the class of 1966, now sophomores, tried to counter future harmful effects caused by Hazing Day by deciding to "care" for the firstyears, but in secret. Each sophomore was paired with a firstyear. The sophomore left little presents outside the firstyear's doors for about a week. These gift-leaving sophomores were called elves.

This went over so well that, while in 1965 the firstyear guide listed the sophomore class as "sophomore sisters," by 1966 they were listed as Elves. Under the legitimate wing of the school, Elfing became a delightful tradition.

Modern Elfing - Today, elfing occurs early to midway through fall semester. One date is set across campus for the start. Typically, the first part of Elfing is covering the firstyear's door with newspaper or something fun, so that when the firstyear innocently awakes, she'll open the door to startlement. She'll usually find the first of her little elfing gifts as well. The firstyear, or, in Elfing, the Elfee (as in the one being Elfed), receives these presents over the course of the week from her Elf who, of course, goes by a false name. After Elfing, the sophomore reveals her still-secret identity.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This page was created by Jennifer Loomer '04 and Katherine Underwood '05 in History 283, Fall Semester 2003
jmloomer@mtholyoke.edu and kaunderw@mtholyoke.edu