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Following Bruins before them

By Sarah Winter

June 11, 2006 9:00 p.m.

As graduating seniors depart from UCLA they carry on the unique
traditions of generations of Bruins, who in years past partook in
an array of clever pranks and memorable activities often not too
different from those carried out by students today.

Though on the outside the UCLA of years past in many ways
appeared very different from how it looks today, stories alumni
tell and descriptions they give of campus life bear a striking
resemblance to the scenes current students know.

Back when culottes were in, Afros were cool and rent was $1,000
per month for a two-bedroom Westwood apartment, students
experienced a crowded Bruin Walk, used the campus as a forum for
political discourse and felt a bout of nausea spurred by the sight
of a red Trojan shirt.

Though this year’s graduating seniors met stricter
admittance requirements, were able to access class lectures while
lying in bed, and have ditched the Afro look, they will likely look
back on certain campus centers and landmarks in a similar way as
students who attended UCLA decades before them.

Though Bruin Walk used to be an uneven asphalt walkway without
stairs, a stark contrast to today’s brick walkways lined with
tables, alumni described the scene as similar to how it is

“Some days there were just so many people sticking stuff
in your face, you’d have to charge up there. … It made you
nuts,” said Michael Shore, who graduated from UCLA in

And some of the topics students were faced with mirror the
issues students advocate for today, said David Tilles, a 1977
graduate who worked for the Daily Bruin.

“We were dealing with the impeachment of Nixon, the United
Farm Workers Union grape boycott. … All the political tables were
very active,” he said.

Though Bruin Walk has always been lively during the day, the
nighttime presence of students has grown in recent years, said Rick
Tuttle, who began as a graduate student at UCLA in 1962 and is now
an adviser to the undergraduate student government, referring to
performance groups rehearsing in Bruin Plaza.

“There was a burst of energy. Students are there
practicing, teaching each other routines and developing
friendships. … They’re terrific and very exciting to
watch,” he said.

UCLA students graduating this spring will also remember the
surge of excitement that accompanies a Bruin sports victory.

“During the last five minutes of the game, people’s
hearts were racing and everyone was standing and screaming at the
TV. … When we won, the entire apartment complex went
crazy,” said graduating senior Antigone Skoulas, referring to
UCLA basketball’s win over Gonzaga in this year’s Sweet

“That was a defining UCLA moment for me,” she

This year’s successful basketball season boosted
students’ school pride and spurred spontaneous 8-claps and
road trips to Indianapolis to support the Bruins in the
championship game.

In a similar display of Bruin pride and support for UCLA’s
basketball team, Tilles and fellow 1977 UCLA graduate Matt
Natalizio helped organize an effort to let fans in Pauley Pavilion
know what they thought of the visiting basketball team.

“FUCK ‘SC” was spelled in the lights of Sproul
Hall and was easily visible from Pauley Pavilion, Natalizio

“The lights are like a grid and we figured out whose light
needed to be on and whose needed to be off if we wanted to spell
something,” he said.

Natalizio and Tilles recalled their floors’ notoriety for
causing trouble. They said they caused quite a problem when they
decided to flush all the toilets in Sproul Hall at the same

“Third-floor geysers,” Natalizio said. “The
pipes couldn’t handle the volume of water and it all
accumulated on the third floor.”

Food fights, small fires and “beer-bashes” were not
uncommon in Sproul Hall in those days, he said.

In recent years, there has been a shift away from the campus
partying that was typical of earlier generations of Bruins, in part
due to students being busier with work, school and extracurricular
activities, said Joseph Rudnick, a professor in the UCLA Department
of Physics and Astronomy since 1984.

“In the spring the Inverted Fountain was a site for
partying. … It used to be pretty raucous until campus police
clamped down. Now students don’t do it anymore,” he

With certain notorious pranks and activities, UCLA alumni have
left behind a legacy that has influenced the actions of current

One past tradition that Ryan Moore, a graduating political
science student, referred to is the forbidden trip through the
tunnels that run beneath campus, an act which could result in

“They’re sort of an urban legend; you hear people
talk about them and

hear stories. … I would feel bad if I hadn’t tried to
check it out myself,” he said.

Year after year as another class graduates from UCLA and
prepares to face the real world, they leave behind a legacy of
Bruins united in their school pride and various campus

While some may get a kick out of being at the top of their class
and others take pride in being notorious party animals, students
will continue to chant the 8-clap and sing the UCLA fight song just
as students have for generations.

One of these former students is the mastermind behind the fake
edition of the Daily Trojan that convinced Trojans that USC was
ineligible for the Rose Bowl in 1976.

In years to come, graduating Bruins will continue to add to the
repertoire of memorable moments shared by UCLA students.

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Sarah Winter
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