October 3, 2007
In a case of fiction begetting reality, several college campuses across the country have found themselves the center of an underground "Free the Frogs" campaign.
Apparently inspired by a satirical and metaphorical episode in the novel WALDEN by Michael T. Dolan, students in at least six campuses have "freed" frogs from their biology labs.
Incidents have taken place on the campuses of Indian State University, Waldron University, Texas A&P, South Dakotan State, Browning University, and Yeats University in the past several weeks, with a new incident seeming to crop up each week at a new campus.
Incidents have varied from students breaking into biology labs to simply taking frogs during labs. Where the frogs have ended up has varied as well, with some frogs finding themselves in college cafeterias while another showed up on the desk of the Dean of Admissions at Waldron University in Boston, Mass.
Said Adam Welsh, Vice President of Public Affairs at Browning University: "We are not overly concerned by this incident because it appears more along the lines of student practical joke than anything with malicious intent. We do not see this happening again, and have taken steps to ensure that."
Students at Texas A&P have eluded to an underground "Free the Frogs" campaign that is being forwarded online on popular student sites like MySpace, Facebook, and YouTube.
Said Texas A&P sophomore Mickey Delpino, "I think its just a joke. I don't think these students have any high motivation that has anything to do with animal rights, PETA, or the environment. I really do think it just stems from fiction."
The fiction Delpino refers to is a coming of age novel called WALDEN which was published by Conversari House last fall. The novel, by Michael T. Dolan, has a cult following among college students and is the supposed inspiration for the "Free the Frog" events.
In the book, the protagonist and his cohorts break into a biology lab in a night of drunken antics and take the preserved frogs to a nearby pond and hurl them back to whence they came.
While more incidents are likely, it seems the "Free the Frogs" movement is just another antic spreading across the Internet -- and college campuses.
The chapter that inspired this underground movement can be read for free at www.conversari.com.