On Monday morning, students, faculty and prefrosh alike awoke to find their dorms littered with signs warning them to take heed.
And heed they took.
Some students exited their dorms expecting to be overrun by a pack of hamsters. “It reminds me about the thing they always say about insects-for every one you see, there’s always a thousand you don’t,” said Dave Wright ’04.
Flyers, ostensibly posted by Campus Police and the biology department, warned students of grave danger from an alleged freak accident in the Life Sciences Building. According to the flyers, a horde of carnivorous hamsters had been let loose and the campus, in response, was paralyzed by the hamsters’ reign of terror.
“Please refrain from wearing sandals and open-toed footwear,” the bulletin advised the College community. “If you come into contact with these creatures, do not attempt to capture them yourselves.”
“It was extreme bullshit,” said George Shaw ’02. “It just goes to show how gullible Amherst is.”
The bulletin-it soon became clear-was as false as rumors of good housing for sophomores. “It’s completely outrageous,” said Peter Bulmer ’04. “We do not keep carnivorous hamsters on campus. But we need more stuff like that on this campus-complete outlandishness.”
While nobody has yet taken credit for the prank, it did relax the campus’ mood at one of the tensest parts of the semester.
Rumble in the Bronx
As if the New England environment couldn’t get any stranger, this past weekend Mother Nature decided that, in addition to freezing weather and snow after a 90 degree heat wave, a moderate earthquake would nicely shake things up a bit-literally.
“My bed was moving and everything; it was crazy,” said Tammy Stewart ’04. “Earthquakes don’t happen on the east coast.”
What’s next? A tornado to whisk away the modular housing units? Unfortunately, Amherst’s little tremor didn’t even break a window and deep sleepers slept peacefully through it.
“My roommate, a California native, woke me up rather concernedly at 7 a.m. and told me that we just had an earthquake,” said Chris Vigorito ’04. “I told him, ‘Don’t be ridiculous. We don’t get earthquakes here. Go back to sleep.’ And we went back to bed. Sleep is much more important than a vibrating earth.”
For Californians well accustomed to earthquakes, Saturday morning’s rumble wasn’t even worth their attention. “I didn’t actually even think it was an earthquake,” said Fred Sanchez ’04. “I’ve lived through a lot of earthquakes already, like [the 1994 earthquake] in Northridge, [Calif.], and I slept through that and that was a 7.2.”
Although not Hollywood-worthy, the earthquake was one of the first of its scale to hit the Northeast in many years.
“I was actually quite confused,” said Kim Kwei ’04. “I thought it was an earthquake but then I went back to sleep; it wasn’t a very big one.”
But what about the worried students who have never experienced an earthquake before and were seriously concerned about their safety? “They’re not from California,” said Kwei.
Some students did not brush off the tremor as quickly as Kwei did. “It was kind of cool, actually,” said Stewart. “I can say I’ve been through an earthquake now, even though it was a one-point-something on the Richter scale.”