On Eve of Exams, Students Strip for Naked Lap

UPDATED: May 6, 2017 at 3:00 a.m.

A gaggle of eager exhibitionists, reluctant runners, and curious onlookers gathered at midnight Thursday morning in Harvard Yard for the College’s biannual “Primal Scream,” a naked lap around the Yard to commemorate the beginning of final exams.

Brisk temperatures drew more than 100 runners to the Yard, with several towel-clad participants priding themselves on not missing a single Primal Scream.

“I’m just here for the participation medal,” said P.J. LeBlanc ’19. “I’m three for three and might as well run every single one while I’m here.” {shortcode-d0d0a7bd5f923811ec03295b6a71434b40a7a34b} Seniors Pauline R. Ryan ’17 and Adrienne M. Propp ’17 both claimed to be “eight for eight,” participating in every nude run in their eight semesters on campus.

“It was honestly meaningful—the last opportunity I’ll have to run around Harvard naked,” Propp said.


Self-described “innocent bystanders” Alexander J. Timerman ’20 and Gabriel E. Ziaukas ’20, who watched the event from the sidelines, denied that they purposely came to the Yard to spectate and claimed they “didn’t even know it was tonight.” Nevertheless, they deemed this spring’s Primal Scream a “fantastic event.”

A small group of tourists flanking the event, though, were less shy—several snapped photos as the clothesless herd sprinted by.

Andie E. Turner ’20, who ran the lap, said she was unconcerned about ending up in tourists’ photo albums.

“I’m fine with it. I’m not planning on running for public office, so whatever,” she said. At the other extreme, though, Propp said she “gave someone the finger” as she ran by.

Several students noted that it was unseasonably cold for May, but Matthew I. Miller '18 said the bracing temperatures hardly hampered his speed.

“If it was like ten degrees warmer I could have shaved a couple seconds off, but we came through the finish strong,” he said. “I just wanted to get on the podium for the team—the coach is going to be proud.”

To Turner, the semesterly tradition is an “amazing” chance to let loose before exams.

“I think it’s incredible, it’s community building,” she said. “Everyone strips down the pants that they put on for the general public and people can come back to their animalistic roots.”

—Staff writer Archie J.W. Hall can be reached at

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article incorrectly identified Matthew I. Miller '18.


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