Two days before Commencement, members of the graduating class gathered for their Senior Step Sing, following a tradition more than a century old. This time, however, there were no “steps”— a storm forced the event to be moved from Blair Arch to the bleachers and hardwood of Dillon Gym.

Having seen in past years how the Step Sing could reduce the most cynical seniors to dewy-eyed nostalgia, members of the Class of ’13 had been looking forward to the event. But as they entered Dillon Gym, they walked into a wall of humidity. 

“This is the first time I’ve sweated this much at the gym,” said Erick Walsh ’13, one of the event organizers. Added David Chen ’13: “I would describe it as ‘agony.’ ” 

A few seniors immediately left the gym but most ventured forward, timidly, through dozens of rows of ­folding chairs packed with sweaty and loyal family members.

“I felt less than motivated to go to the Step Sing upon seeing the crowd of sweat-soaked students fanning themselves outside Dillon,” said Katrina Hacker ’13. “But once I entered and saw the crowd of ’13 beer jackets chanting in unison, I gave up on staying cool and joined in.”

Those who stayed sang with aplomb. Foreheads grew slick and arms were flung around shoulders as crisp oxfords rumpled and darkened. Seniors sang the racier lyrics with audible relish (not to mention increased volume), and alongside more traditional fare like “Old Nassau” were tween-friendly artists like Miley Cyrus and Fun. When had lyrics like “Get to the club in my taxi cab everybody’s looking at me now / Like who’s that chick that’s rocking kicks” been printed on an official ­University program?

Andy Martens ’13 described the experience as “endearingly dorky”; Emily Levy ’13 compared it to a middle school choral concert. 

In all, the Step Sing captured something essentially Princetonian. Though old traditions might strike the new generation as hokey, those who were willing to shelve their skepticism (and endure the heat) found reason to celebrate their place in the community of Tigers.