To pick our genre we decided to focus on an on-campus group, we concluded that because Safety and Security (S&S) is an entity that is always present on campus there must be significant folklore about S&S. Students see S&S every day, whether it be S&S officers in cars, on bikes, or walking around campus. Students also tend to interact with S&S a great deal on a semi-regular basis. However, students usually have interactions with S&S in adversarial situations. This happens because most often when students and S&S officers interact directly it occurs through dorm walkthroughs, fraternity walkthroughs, or when a student might be in the process of getting written up. S&S’s purpose on campus is to protect the students but the students do not always view them as protectors. Accordingly, a lot of Folklore has developed about S&S, their actions, and how students have interacted with them. We believed that S&S must have a lot of folklore of their own due to their omnipresence on campus and the fact that they have been around on Dartmouth campus for a significant amount of time. However, obtaining folklore from S&S proved difficult.
The items we collected varied from urban legends, customary rituals, jokes, and a myth. Our informants that provided us with folkloric items were students from all four years. The Dartmouth community in general interacts with S&S but we collected specifically from the student body as we believed that they had not only the greatest interaction with S&S but also the most precarious.
- Luke Hudspeth ’19
- Albert Mitchell ’19
- Carter Copeland ’19
- Luka Pejanovic ’17
- Robert Moffitt ’16
In conclusion, we as a group found a lot of very interesting folklore that surrounded the ever present S&S. This folklore ranged from rituals to jokes and myths that almost all students in the Dartmouth community knew.
During the collection process, we found it very easy to find students willing to talk to us about S&S and their experience with S&S. This is contrasted with S&S’ near complete refusal to even talk to us about themselves. As a group we sent three emails, made a phone call, and stopped multiple officers in the street to try and collect folklore from S&S, all with out success; all those approached refused to give us any information.
Regardless of this hitch, we found it completely valid to solely collect folklore about S&S and not from S&S. This refocus of our project lead us to many interesting developments on the folklore that students gave us about S&S.
One difficulty that arose during this collection project was distinguishing between oral history/ personal testimony and actual folklore. Once this difference was noticed and paid attention to, there were still many pieces of folklore to collect pertaining to S&S.
- Keywords: Safety and Security Folklore, SNS, Urban Legends, Campus Security, Student Rituals