The history and tradition of the Brule run is just as peculiar as the event itself.
After the first big snowfall that sticks for 24 hours, Brule, the all-male house located on the first floor of Gant Hall, has the wacky tradition of running through the courtyard at midnight. And yes, they wear nothing but their birthday suits as they do so.
Carl Holm, director of Housing and Residence Life, estimates that the tradition started in the early 80s. In the 70s, when freedom of expression was more widely exercised, those who wanted to frolic naked did so in the Payne/Halverson courtyard.
“Payne/Halverson used to be the streaking Mecca, but that died away after a while,” Holm said. “Brule picked up the gauntlet and made it a thing where only they streaked.”
Derrick Schippert, junior graphic design major and resident advisor of Brule, has lived in the house and participated in the run for the past two years.
“It has to be a pretty big snowfall, whatever we assume that to be,” he said.
Schippert said the long-standing tradition is usually welcomed by the majority of residents in the hall, although a few opt to sit out on the chilly fun.
“Only two or three people usually don’t run, but I’m thinking more ran this year than last year.”
In addition to the naked men running amuck, the all-female Malibu House in Spalding takes part in the tradition as well by lifting their shirts and facing the group of delighted males in the courtyard.
Other halls at NMU welcome the frigid weather in different, PG-rated ways. Hunt Hall’s Arctic Plunge involves the students from Arctic House jumping into Lake Superior at the beginning of the season, while Spalding and West Hall both host formals at the start of winter semester.
The Brule Run is also just one of many organized streaking events held on college campuses around the United States.
At Dartmouth College, students celebrate an annual swim across the Connecticut River by running back to the starting point in the nude. Students at Tufts University in Massachusetts celebrate the end of the fall semester by streaking around the residential quad, and at Hamilton College in New York they actually have a varsity streaking team.