First-years fill quote boards with multitudes of memorable miscues

Quote boards – typically re-envisioned bed sheets that feature inside jokes – are a staple of entry life. They are a way for entries to bond during First Days, to immortalize the awkward things said in the midst of midterm exhaustion and to look back on entry life with fondness.

At first, quote boards are sacrosanct: No one except those in the entry are allowed to write on them or be quoted. My entry reacted with shock and horror when a few pre-frosh wrote, “We love you, Dennett 4! We’ll be back!” in huge letters on our board, taking up precious space where better, funnier quotes could have gone. However, over time, as friends are adopted into entries, this rule becomes more lax. “We started out with a policy that only people from the entry could have quotes on the board,” Veronica Gould ’15 of Mills-Dennett 1 said, “but now we have a few quotes from people outside the entry.” When I talked to Aldis Inde ’15 from Mills 4, he told me that his entry also had such a policy. “It’s interesting how it’s morphed from just being people in the entry to people who hang out in the entry,” he said. “Being on another entry’s quote board is a sign of adoption.”

For the most part, the content of quote boards are quotes that are, well, rather inappropriate when taken out of context. “Naturally, many of our [quotes] lend themselves to sexual innuendo,” Corbin Chu ’15 of Mills-Dennett 1 said. Often, entries cover up their quote boards during Parents’ Weekend so that parents will not interpret the inside jokes as evidence of their children’s depraved college lives. Sometimes, though, quote boards are just plain random: “We have an outline of a real banana on our quote board,” Inde pointed out to me when I visited Mills 4, although he couldn’t recall the story behind the incident.

Because of the often inappropriate nature of the entry quote board, tour guides sometimes encounter difficulty when walking a tour through an entry. “Generally, we just encourage our guides to stand on the opposite side of the quote board so that the parents will be facing their guides and have their backs to the quote board,” Amanda Esteves-Kraus ’12, head tour guide, said. “Parents don’t really comment on it, but prospective students will often look at it and giggle.” She added that “one tour group commented last year on how pretty Sage D’s quote board was because the female [Junior Advisor (JA) Lucy Rollins ’12] was an art major, but we do try to direct attention away from the quote board.”

Some entries take quote boards entirely to the next level. Sage E was one such entry this year, filling its quote board with rare dedication. “A rule in our entry is that you have to get the majority of votes for a quote to be put up on the board,” Jackie Rodriguez ’15 said. “Our quotes are very good quality quotes!”

Out of all the first years I talked to, Rodriguez probably had the craziest quote board adventures. During dead week, her entry created a scavenger hunt competition between the guys and the girls of Sage E. “Part of the scavenger hunt was that we had to write on every quote board in Sage,” Rodriguez said. “It took us a few hours, but we went through the entire second floor of Sage. We even stole our own quote board so that the guys couldn’t write on it, although they eventually got it back.”

The denizens of Sage E were up all night trying to write on the Sage quote boards, tiptoeing through entries and waiting for people to go to sleep so that they could work their mischief. “We wrote on the border of every quote board, on the very edge where the lining is,” Rodriguez said. “We wrote ‘monkey sluts’ on every quote board in Sage. We had been watching this British TV show Misfits, and one of the characters said it randomly in the show. The guys were less creative. They just wrote, ‘Sage E was here.’”

And what happens to entry quote boards once freshman year is over? Often, JAs take them as a memento of their entry. Gould, however, had a strategy to remember the entry quote board. “I typed up the entire quote board over Winter Study,” she said. “It was also useful to see who had the most quotes.”

Toward the end of our interview, Chu waxed sentimental about his entry quote board. “I think it’s really cool that I can look at these quotes and think back to an entry dinner, or broomball or a collective entry experience,” he said.