women s timberland boots How Cambridge students go drinking
Revealed: How Cambridge students go drinkingTwo Cambridge graduates explain the tradition of ‘swaps’ and some of the more off putting ‘drinking society’ initiations.16:00, 18 NOV 2017Caesarian Sunday this year on Jesus Green Cambridge. Picture: David Johnson
Get daily updates directly to your inbox+ SubscribeThank you for subscribing!
Could not subscribe, try again laterInvalid Email
Drinking port out of a condom, vomit on shoes and passing out in a restaurant bathroom all feature in tales of Cambridge University’s drinking culture.
The News tracked down two graduates to give us the inside story on the ancient institution’s boozier traditions.
They explained the culture of college ‘drinking societies’, student clubs which organise heavy drinking sessions and have initiations similar to US fraternities’ ‘hazing’ rituals.
A Cambridge graduate who asked to remain anonymous said: “So the way it works is that each college has a college drinking society, and they all have different names, like the Girton Green Monsters and the Jesus Caesarians.
“When you’re a fresher, you go on lots of swaps, where girls from one college will go to a curry house with guys from another college and carnage ensues.”
Swaps and superswaps Swaps are a Cambridge tradition where two societies or groups from different colleges meet in a restaurant and carry out wild drinking challenges.
She continued: “There are usually about 20 people at swaps 10 a side, so 10 girls from one college, 10 guys from another. Unless it’s a ‘superswap’ involving 10 girls and 10 guys from both colleges.
“The girls and guys who go on lots of these usually get invited to join their college drinking society at the end of the year and have to take part in secret initiation ceremonies, which involve things like drinking port from condoms, licking squirty cream from belly buttons and the like.
“I did a few swaps as a fresher and then more as part of my college’s boat club, so I don’t know what goes on in hardcore drinking societies or initiations!
University balls deemed ‘extremely wasteful’ amid calls for colleges to appoint ‘green officers’
“The big event in the year is Caesarian Sunday on Jesus Green which the Daily Mail covers every year for some reason, where many societies’ initiations take place. Most college deans send emails out warning students not to go.
“Swaps were quite fun actually, though looking back it is pretty outrageous what went on!
“Everyone would bring their own bottle of wine, people would ‘penny’ each other aggressively, lots of never have I ever ing, and “5p ing” when someone puts a 5p on your plate and you then have to eat using just your face.”
Pennying and other games “Pennying” is the tradition of dropping a coin in someone’s drink, meaning they must down it in one.
Some students create “engineer pennies”, which are folded in half so they can fit in the neck of a bottle of wine, forcing the student “pennied” to down the entire bottle.
And a five penny piece in a student’s food means they cannot use their cutlery or even their hands to eat it.
“Never have I ever” is a drinking game in which players name embarrassing acts and anyone who has done the named act has to drink.
The graduate continued: “The Mahal, which has sadly closed now, was legendary for swaps.
“I believe Curry King is now the venue of choice, though I’ve heard of some swaps even taking place in Giraffe, which seems to me to be too nice a venue for it!”
When asked if the rumour of students vomiting on restaurant tables is true,
she answered: “Oh without a doubt.