Photo: Wang Lama Humla / Wikimedia Commons
Pledging season is in full swing and, as usual, fraternities are going out of their way to welcome their new classes, sparing no expense to antagonize hopeful freshmen.
While some fraternities send pledges on scavenger hunts to Center City or on overnight trips to other states, Penn fraternity Omega Alpha Theta Mu Epsilon Alpha Lambda (commonly referred to as Oatmeal), is planning to send its incoming pledge class to the highest point above sea level in the world!
This decision comes as a result of the ongoing feuds between the various fraternities on campus, all trying to top one another. A spokesman from Oatmeal said, “Plenty of frats are sending their pledges to events in places around Philadelphia, New Jersey, or neighboring states. But we’re better than all of our lame competition. We’re sending our pledges to somewhere they can really have the time of their lives, somewhere they wouldn't see otherwise.”
“Yeah, uh, it sounds good to me," one pledge told us. "Mount Everest is... safe, I guess. My parents were a little worried, but I told them I'm just climbing Lhotse and they relaxed a little bit."
Mount Everest, 29,029 feet above sea level, has taken the lives of hundreds of experienced climbers. More than 200 bodies line the path up the mountain, some of which are used as landmarks for climbers. Climbers face the effects of altitude, exposure, extreme temperature, and avalanches. While most climbers opt to make the ascent in May, when conditions are most favorable, these pledges are doing it in February. Although none of the Oatmeal pledge class are experienced in any sort of climbing or high-altitude activities, the fraternity president seemed confident about the event.
“Sure, it’s scary, but we need to know that our brothers have a strong character and can deal with adversity. After all, how are they going to be able to mix jungle juice and clean up after parties if they can’t survive extreme cold on an exposed mountain face? How can they talk to girls at mixers if they can't communicate with their local guides in life-or-death situations? We want our pledge class to climb to the top of the social scene at Penn, as well as to the top of Mount Everest." He makes a strong point.
The list of items to find in the scavenger hunt, while kept secret from non-brothers, is reported to include a search for some pretty cool objects: fraternity flags, fun memorabilia, pictures with the infamous Green Boots corpse (used as a landmark for climbers), and videos of pledges singing at the top of the world. Brothers assured us that they would be "royally pissed" if the pledges fail to plant a can of Natural Ice on the mountain's peak.
We wish these lucky pledges the best of luck. While it may seem like certain pledging events don't serve a purpose, brothers insist that they do everything "for a reason".