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The Naked City


By Brad A. Greenberg '04

Published Oct 1, 2006 8:00 AM

Bruins take it off and then take off across campus in the March 2006 version
of the almost legendary Undie Run.

Fresh Undies

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The frustration of finals week manifested itself again this quarter in a big way. Spring 2007's Undie Run was one of the largest runs yet, with thousands of Bruins finding a positive creative outlet for their finals woes and graduating cheers. This quarter's run featured a New Orleans style-brass band (in their undies) and super-hero favorites like Batman & Robin, Bigfoot, and Ketchup & Mustard. This pinnacle in popularity may lead to problems, however, as there were a few mishaps during the run, such as blown sprinkler heads near Royce Quad and countless broken hearts. Yet, although there have been changes made to the run in order to make it more acceptable to the university as well as hints of closure by campus officials, the Undie Run will continue for some time to come...or will it?

The first run began with 13 guys jumping up and down in our Skivvies. My college roommate, Eric Whitehead '04, founded and fostered the event. At the stroke of midnight during spring 2002 finals, we raced from my bedroom onto Glenrock Avenue. Undie Run, as it inevitably became known, was our sophomoric act of defiance against UCPD for deploying scores of officers to prevent another Midnight Yell from again digressing into a melee of broken windows and burning couches.

Four years later, Undie Run has become a bona fide Bruin tradition. Not surprisingly, however, UCLA officials last spring tired of testosterone-fueled guys running across the hoods of parked cars at midnight on the Wednesday of finals week every quarter, and designated a path through campus.

Since then, the event has continued with limited disturbances, and UCLA has no plans of terminating it. But Dean of Students Robert J. Naples says that would change if Undie Run becomes a safety or criminal concern. "This is just a problem waiting for intervention," he says. "I hope I'm wrong, because this is something students do look forward to."

The most recent Undie Run was estimated to include 5,000 people. Wearing boxers or briefs, cotton panties or lace thongs — and in some cases, less — students ran, walked and frolicked down Gayley, across De Neve Plaza, past Pauley Pavilion and up Bruin Walk.

I was dumbfounded by our little run — and the myth it has become.



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