When the 8 p.m. bell tolled at Cal Poly Wednesday, Dexter Lawn erupted into a flurry of indiscriminately aimed violence as a group of about 120 students beat each other with pillows.
Civil engineering freshman Ben Louwaert was the first to arrive and prepared by stretching his legs on the yellow fire hydrant in the middle of the lawn.
“I think it’s a good way to meet people, you know, you beat them to the ground and help them up,” he said.
Jared Huntington, an electrical engineering sophomore, created the event on facebook as a means to let out pent-up aggression. When asked what aggression he would be venting, ecology and systematic biology junior Zach Green said, “I had a four-hour lab at seven in the morning.”
As soon as the first bell tolled, a group of students appeared from the east running at the group of students who had gathered with pillows in hand on Dexter Lawn.
The fight was on.
Some students swung two pillows, dealing multiple blows on attackers before being hit, while others used everything from couch pillows to large body pillows.
During the chaos, students shouted, “This is Sparta!” “I thought you were my brother!” and “For the shire!”
After about a half hour of anarchic pillow bashing, the students began to evolve their fighting style, first trying the “flying-v” formation made popular by Disney’s “The Mighty Ducks.” Later students yelled, “Form lines!” The students then made two lines facing each other and when someone yelled, “Attack!” the two lines converged and the thuds of pillows smashing faces and bodies sounded like popcorn popping.
Students then yelled, “Regroup!” and again formed two lines, this time shouting “Hoo, hoo, hoo, hoo,” like the Spartans in the movie “300” before attacking.
The students’ tactics evolved even further as a small group flanked the opposition on their next charge.
Huntington said that the true credit for the event was due to an organization called The Revival. Huntington said that The Revival was behind the riots that the band Sublime sings about, the hippie movement, and that Franklin Delano Roosevelt was a member.
Watching the frenzy he enabled, Huntington said, “This is brutal. I hope this happens way more often.”
Brian Donnelly, a materials engineering sophomore lay on his back exhausted after an hour of pillow fighting.
“I think I forgot much of my childhood,” he said.
One student emerged from the flurry of fluffy fighting laughing. When asked what happened, Summer Peters, a biological chemistry freshman responded, “This guy that I know and lives with me just pounded me in the face!”
As the violence began to dissipate and students became tired, Huntington promised, “Next week, crime rates will go down in San Luis Obispo.”
He was then hoisted up by two students and carried to the center of Dexter Lawn. One of the students who carried Huntington then hollered out, “Ladies and gentlemen, the man who made it all possible!”
The pillow fighters began cheering and whistling, then seemingly all at once they began to shout “Get Him!” And then they converged on Huntington and began beating him with their pillows.
After giving up on their attack, the pillow-armed students began cheering and Huntington stepped into the center of the lawn and yelled, “This will happen every quarter! This is Sparta!” He then told the students to go home.
No student appeared seriously injured. One student suffered a small nosebleed, and one was hit in the head with an elbow. The aftermath of the carnage was a lawn littered with pillow stuffing.