Men of E2 bond together through branding themselves
Culture | Michaela Mohs
E2 shows off their specially crafted brand that has been passed down to ensure the tradition. | Drea Chalmers
As freshmen all over Bethel’s campus begin to make friends and connect with the other residents on their respective floors, one group of freshmen takes “getting to know each other” to a whole new level. This group doesn’t just take trips to the apple orchard or have floor testimony nights; instead, they are bonded in a more permanent way.
For the men living on the second floor of Edgren Hall, usually referred to as “E2,” this has consisted less of talking in groups, and a lot more of strange activities or traditions. These activities are perhaps a bit painful to participate in, but go a long way in confirming the manly bond of brotherhood on E2.
These men have the option to be branded with a traditional brand, typically used for livestock – a big “E2” symbol created two years ago by an Edgren resident who welded the brand together himself.
Matthias Oawster, junior E2 resident assistant, said that he first heard about the brand while visiting E2 and saw a huge poster of somebody’s side, showing off their brand. This year the tradition seems to be continuing, with six men having been branded and more planning on it.
The brands are only done on the hips. The first to be branded, Logan Eckert, based his decision on the personal philosophy that “words are temporary, brands are for life.”
However, while most of the E2 residents plan on being branded, a few refuse to do so. Among them is freshman Sam Schedler, who cites the future and pure aesthetics as reasons to not get branded.
“When I’m old and wrinkly, I don’t want to make that situation any worse,” he said. Those who don’t plan on getting branded, Schedler included, seem to think that the main reason so many men have or are going to be branded is summed up by the phrase “YOLO.”
“There is no way…I refuse,” Oawster said. Even though he obviously doesn’t want a giant “E2” burned into his skin, Oawster loves the other aspects of being an RA for the Edgren men.
Some aspects of E2 have definitely been more than he bargained for, though. “There’s a lot of naked time, I’ll tell you that. It was very shocking to me as I’m not the most…undressed.” Oawster, along with Schedler, referenced the phrase “nudity brings unity” as the E2 floor theme for the year. All the better for the men to show off their brands, it’s assumed.
More than just the branding, E2 has several other unique traditions that set it apart from other freshman floors. Eckert mentioned that the floor has “Mankini Mondays,” when visitor hours aren’t in effect, and where, apparently, the description is all in the name. He added that the event is “to the user’s own discretion.”
Oawster hopes to make the E2 toga run a new tradition for years to come. The run is something he created with his roommate in Nelson Hall two years ago. If you remember seeing a group of freshmen men running around in towels during one night of Welcome Week, that may have been the men from E2 embracing their inner Greek spirit.
Regardless of all the crazy shenanigans happening on E2, the men continue to bond together as friends and brothers. And for some, they’ll always have a reminder of their freshman year at Bethel.