College is weird. In college, cereal smuggled out of the dining hall is a major food group. In college, pajamas aren’t formalwear, exactly, but they might qualify as smart casual. In college, Rockstar (ahem, ROCKST★R) energy drink is ingested like a substance fit for human consumption, unlike the radioactive wastewater it clearly is.
At Stanford University, thousands of students gather every fall for Full Moon on the Quad, so named because it takes place during the first full moon of the academic year and is on the quad. There, they welcome the new freshmen with their mouths. Even within the context of college (which, again, is weird), this is still weird. That isn’t to say we don’t like it.
Full Moon on the Quad has been a formal, university-approved tradition since 1988, though its roots date back to the nineteenth century. Stanford enlists “peer health educators” to reinforce the importance of consent, discourage sick kids from participating, and pass out mouthwash, mints and dental dams – though the germs always seem to win. In the days that follow what the New York Times calls an “an orgy of interclass kissing,” strep throat and the flu reliably sweep the campus.
The single-student record for kisses at Full Moon on the Quad belongs to a young woman, and is believed to exceed 1,000. Many students wear “bingo boards” with specific targets to smooch (someone who got a perfect SAT score, for instance). And almost everyone makes sure to kiss the Tree, the marching band’s mascot. May god have mercy on his immune system.