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On Exhibit at Robeson Library: The Frosh Enter the Fray

August 31, 2018
Freshman exhibit on display at Robeson Library through October 14.

The Frosh Enter the Fray: Rutgers–Camden Freshmen of the 1950s and 1960s was developed and installed by History Graduate student McKenna Britton and is on display in the Paul Robeson Library lobby until October 14, 2018.

The Frosh Enter the Fray: Rutgers–Camden Freshmen of the 1950s and 1960s was developed and installed by History Graduate student McKenna Britton and is on display in the Paul Robeson Library lobby until October 14, 2018.

Freshmen students entering the university in 2018 have a lot in common with freshmen who first stepped onto their college campus in 1960. Both classes felt anxious about starting anew, both socially and academically; both were pushed out of their comfort zone into the grand unknown of the university; and both had immense possibilities for their futures spread out in front of them.

But the freshman class of 2018 is also vastly different from the freshman class of 1960. Rutgers-Camden first year students in the 21st century don't have to recite the alma mater when requested by an upperclassmen. They aren't required to have matches or a lighter on their person at all times, in case they are asked to light an upperclassmen's cigarette. Freshmen in 2018 are not seen walking around campus wearing "dink" caps, either.

A new exhibit in the Paul Robeson Library pulls excerpts from freshman handbooks, editions of the campus newspaper The Gleaner, and images from Rutgers-Camden yearbooks in order to introduce students to the rules and regulations that the freshmen of decades past had to abide by—and the various ways they rebelled against the upperclassmen.

Stop by the library to learn what the first few weeks of the fall semester looked like for freshmen in the mid-twentieth century, figure out what a "dink" is, and feel relieved that freshmen no longer need to collect 30 signatures from fellow classmates a day.