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Revealing Tradition At a S.Md. College

It's just sort of a funny thing you want to see from a distance, said Laura Wienand, a junior from Pittsburgh. Not right up close. "I think some people don't like it. Those people don't come out at noon. And that's a general attitude here," she said, something she loves about the school. "If you don't agree with it, don't agree with it." She shrugged.

"There's an understanding here of 'Come as you are, no matter who you are,' " said Genna DelPuppo, a junior from St. Michaels. "It's very accepting here."

After an au naturel bicycle tour across the St. Mary's College campus, students take the traditional May Day plunge into the river. "It's a spring thing," one student said. (Michael Lutzky -- The Washington Post)

The bikers appeared over a hill on campus, to more cheers. One girl's cape flew out behind her as she pedaled back onto Route 5, which curves along the St. Mary's River. A guy in front held his arms up, elated. (Look, Ma, no hands.) They were on the homestretch.

Bikes squeaked to a halt by the boathouse, kickstands went down, and the riders raced onto the pier. "It's going to be cold," one guy yelled, as he leapt off the end, splashing everyone else as he hit the water. They all jumped in, bobbing and laughing, paint dissolving.

"That was so wonderful," Walters said, climbing back onto the pier next to Parr and squeezing the water out of her long hair.

"Fantastic!" Oliver said.

"I felt like the Tour de France coming through that crowd at the campus center," Newkirk said. A girl hugged Walters. "I'm so glad you did it!"

Matt Stone walked back down the pier, dripping, and said to them, "Now I can graduate knowing I actually accomplished something."

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