Queen's University engineering frosh week: Hair & games

School's back- well, almost. It's frosh week here on Queen's campus, also known as initiation, freshman or orientation week at other schools. Our engineering department's undergrads are putting on their usual show, in rough accordance with the school's long-standing traditions (although things are slightly more tame than they used to be in the days before senior administration was involved in the planning of festivities).

There's the hair, for starters, "EngCuts" being far beyond anything conceived of by mere mortal hairdressers:

Readers who are familiar with Queen's traditions will instantly recognize the following contraption. Those who have participated in this particular event are sure to conduct their own quick assessment of this particular model's performance potential (hint: it could be better).

It is of course a Thundermug, the chariot of the Engineering-Nursing frosh. A Thundermug built by frosh is a rickety contraption akin to an ancient Egyptian royal litter, but built out of random garbage and duct tape. The throne is, well, a throne- a porcelain toilet bowl scavenged from a demolition site.

On rare occasions (not today) upper-year Thundermugs can be spotted. They are far more sophisticated than the first-year model, often having space-frame chassis and carbon fibre armour.

Decked out in full battle trim, a Thundermug is armoured with plastic sheathing and cardboard. A small army of frosh march beside it to shield the occupant from the onslaught of Thundersludge, a porridge-like adhesive muck believed to be related to the school cafeteria's breakfast oatmeal.

No Frosh Week celebration would be complete without music and moshing. Six hundred frosh can make quite a mosh pit- if, that is, they can be convinced to expend the energy.

The party mindset comes more naturally to some than to others.

From a photographic technique standpoint, there's nothing fancy going on here. I shot most of this in P-mode and full auto focus, with on-camera fill flash in a few cases. The key is to get right into the action, shooting really low or really high angles and cropping for composition after the fact. A bit of post-processing to fine-tune the colours and bring up the shadows rounds it out.

In a departure from our usual policies, today's photos (this post only) are CC BY-NC. Feel free to share and repost, provided that you link back to the original source (i.e. this site).





Love it

These pics are amazing and totally made me miss Queen's and Kingston. Queen's frosh will always have a special place in my heart, haha. Thanks for taking these!!!

Thanks Jes!

Matthew's picture

Frosh week is always a good time and, from what I've seen, almost everyone looks back fondly on it many years later.

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