WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Six hours ago, rap music pounded the pristine Hearns Plaza through twin mega-speakers. Hundreds of Wake Forest University students hollered, danced and crowd-surfed into the early hours of the morning.
Beating the Duke Blue Devils basketball program has that effect on a university's undergrads. Basking in the glow of an upset victory, the Demon Deacon student body was not about to miss a rite of passage as old as the campus itself.
Late into the night, WFU students "rolled the quad." It is a celebration where the only requirement is throwing toilet paper rolls into the trees. It doesn't make much sense, but that doesn't seem to matter.
"It draws every together. It's really unique," Greg Wakely, a senior Chi Psi fraternity member said.
As the sun rose, the silence around campus is as blistering as the presumptive headaches. No sign of the raucous party-goers remained, save thousands of restroom streamers littering the ground. The toilet paper has clothed the quad in white. The tree's new outfits catches the eye of those cursed with early Wednesday morning classes. However, beauty, it would appear, remains in the eye of the beholder.
"They won a basketball game last night. Now I have to clean it up," Terry Bethea, one of the school's sanitation workers said.
Crews of workers will spend days picking up the paper, piece by piece. They are at the mercy of the wind for it to fall out of the trees. Only hours after they clear an area, it is repopulated by the debris.
Terry works a three-hour shift today on TP duty, but the task is daunting, he says.
"It's a struggle," Terry said, "I don't mind it all too bad, but it takes a while."
"It's a lot of fun," Wakely said, "but I think I feel bad the morning after and see it all over the place."
"I don't see it going away though," Wakely continued, "it defines Wake Forest University."