“Ring by spring” might be a long-lasting association with couples on campus. Yet the next lucky fellow who buys a ring should beware: he may be signing up as potential target for yet another, slightly less romantic, campus ritual. He may be the next to get “treed.”
On Friday, Sept. 9, the newly engaged Luke Doremus found himself bound to a telephone pole, wearing only gym shorts, drenched in water, covered in baby powder, and graced with a sign reading “Honk, I’m engaged.”
This graphic display took place on Warrior Drive above the Davidson parking lot, perfectly timed as spectators arrived for the Friday night volleyball game.
“The funniest one to pass had to be Don Leavitt,” junior Matt Turner said. He and nine other schemers watched as a car slowly came to a halt beside Doremus, the tinted window inched down, and behold, there sat Leavitt.
“He yelled his congrats, and then just did what the sign said – he laid on his horn!” Turner added.
Junior Garret Grubb, aka Doremus’ best man, led the band of 10 Davidson brothers in this reliving of a dying tradition.
The group had heard many accounts about the outlawed treeing practice, and knew they could never ignore the opportunity if it rolled around.
“I came up with this scenario that Luke and I would go to the gym, come back and shower, then go out with the others for some dinner,” Grubb explained.
“When I stepped out of the shower, most of my clothes were gone. I figured some guys were just messing around ,” Doremus said. He darted into Grubb’s room, only to find the awaiting tree-ers.
“All at once we tackled him down,” junior Kena Gugudan said. “We duct-taped his hands and feet, blind-folded him, and put him in the back of Garrett’s truck.” According to Gugudan, the rowdy “celebration” just got better as they drove a blind-folded Doremus around.
“Garrett had the country music blaring, and I figured they were taking me down on Deer Park Drive,” Doremus said. “Oh great.”
“I made sure we were conscientious, backing off from intense humiliation of [original treeing] so that it could be some good, clean fun,” Grubb said. Well, clean for the most part. Doremus soon found himself drenched and covered in the baby powder.
“We definitely veered from what the tradition was in the past, which included… well, some other stuff,” Turner said.
That “other stuff” apparently got out of hand on an evening in 1993, and rumors swirl around campus to this day regarding what exactly happened the night that treeing was banned.
According to Director of Academic Services, Daren Milionis, the tradition began in the ‘70’s as a crazy, highly anticipated “guy time” to rank on the one with the ring.
“It always started out with some kind of attacking, and the poor guys would get dragged over and roped up to a trunk,” Milionis continued as he glanced out his window at a tree. “That was where they did it,” he said, “and you can literally see the dark and light spots on the trunk from the grossest, most rotten food they would dump on them.”
“What happened with Luke was not a true treeing as it used to occur,” Provost Matt Lucas said, who spoke from personal experiences as a treer. A few Davidson guys even claimed that Lucas was an active participant the night the ritual was outlawed.
He explained that the practice, as far as he knows, generally died out after the banning. Yet upon hearing that the Davidson boys are reliving a friendlier form of the tradition, Lucas said, “I love seeing the guys have good-natured fun.”