This is Vassar: The newsletter for Vassar College Alumnae/i and Families

Photo credit: Courtesy of Madison Fletcher


The serenity of a peaceful spring Sunday was shaken on May 10 when Vassar fell victim to an invasion of pirates — members of the Bard College student group P.I.R.A.T.E.S. (People Interested in Restoring a Tradition of Excellence at Sea), that is.

According to Madison Fletcher, a Bard freshman and a participant in the raid, the pirates were of the friendly variety, attempting to bring some cheer and entertainment to Vassar students during the frenzy of finals. “When we raided this year we knew that the kids had finals the next day but we figured that we could bring some comical stress relief,” she says — “and I believe we did to some. It really is just playful fun.”

P.I.R.A.T.E.S. was founded in the fall of 2003 by two Bard freshmen who hoped to use their fledgling group to screen pirate movies, throw pirate-themed parties, and raid Vassar. P.I.R.A.T.E.S. cofounder Josh Klein-Kuhn, Bard ’07, recounts that on their first raid, upon “slunk[ing], en masse, onto campus,” the “two large vans’ worth” of pirates “ran around the quad, demanding booty.” They then created a scene in ACDC, where several “fair maidens went shrieking in, followed closely by bloodthirsty pirates, who chased them around the serving area.”

This year’s raid, in contrast, was somewhat tamer. The Bard students, bedecked in swashbuckling apparel, cruised a 17-man paper ship through the quad, crying “Barrrrrd!” along the way. After the requisite staking of (peaceful) conquest flags, which bore the letter “B” imposed over a skull and crossbones, the incursion concluded on the steps of ACDC, where the pirates reveled in traditional piratic greeting and cheer. “We even had a few Vassar students join in,” Fletcher notes. “We made them ‘walk the plank.’”

June 2009

Back Issues