In a revolutionary moment for the Yale social scene, the Playboy bunny may be sponsoring college parties around campus as early as this fall.
The student who is bridging the gap between Eli and Hef is Nick Marchitto ’05, a clean-cut Stilesian who was recently selected by the magazine to serve as the “campus rep” for Yale. As a member of Playboy’s “campus marketing team,” he will report on college trends, help promote the bunny’s image to Yalies, and most of all, host Playboy-sponsored parties. (Playmates, however, are optional.)
An economics major from suburban New Jersey, Marchitto said he found out about the position on the Playboy Web site. He had initially planned to enter Playboy’s annual college fiction-writing contest, but was intrigued by the campus rep opportunity and decided to apply online. Four weeks later, he learned that he had been selected — and his role as Yale’s playboy extraordinaire was launched.
Marchitto said he hopes to sponsor about two or three themed parties next year and is flirting with the idea of designing the first event with a “pajama party” theme. While nothing is final, Marchitto is interested in hosting these parties at venues such as Toad’s and Yale fraternity houses. At these Playboy-sponsored soirees, promotional items like T-shirts, calendars and magazines will be distributed.
“I think we have this great potential and I think it needs to be harnessed,” said Marchitto, who compared Yale to an “unpolished diamond.”
He is currently Playboy’s only liaison on campus.
Marchitto said he would also like to strengthen Yale’s social ties with nearby colleges, including Quinnipiac and Southern Connecticut State universities.
“I’m looking to really integrate, to get the whole New Haven college scene going,” said Marchitto.
Monu Lahiri ’04, the Yale Women’s Center political action coordinator, said the center encourages individuals to make informed decisions for themselves about the role Playboy and pornography should play in one’s college experience. She said the issue of pornography is still “contentious” in feminist debates, and that the Women’s Center sponsored a screening of lesbian pornography earlier in the semester to facilitate dialogue on the issue.
“We feel it is unfortunate that we live in a world where the objectification of women is still commonplace,” Lahiri said. “The pornography industry and the associated misogyny may be more a symptom of flawed gender dynamics than a cause.”
She said that the center believes it is more important to read and critically respond to the materials than to avoid them outright.
“From a personal standpoint, I don’t find Playboy to be a particularly appealing magazine, but then, I don’t really enjoy porn,” Lahiri said.
Tyson Crawford ’05, who said he enjoys “having a good time,” is open to the idea of having the Playboy mystique brought to the Yale social scene.
“I don’t see what’s not to like. Is the concept any worse than ‘Champagne and Schoolgirls’ or freshmen ‘screws’?” Crawford said. “I think a change in parties would be good. It’s something new to do, and would be fun.”
Rob Sanchez ’05 also said he feels it would add a new dimension to Yale.
“It would probably improve the Yale scene tremendously, but I’m not so sure that I would be interested in going,” said Sanchez, adding that he prefers not spending time in large crowds.
Diana Swett ’05 thought these parties, though fun, may be slightly limited in their appeal.
“For me, I don’t see the advantage of having the Playboy sponsorship,” she said. “If Playboy were sending Playmates here to come to the parties, I would be alarmed by that, but I’m not offended by the idea of having Playboy T-shirts [handed out] and having fun parties.”
The relationship between Yale students and sexually oriented lifestyle magazines is nothing new. Last year, former scene columnist Noelle Hancock ’02 made headlines by modeling for Stuff Magazine’s “Women’s Studies” photo shoot. In 1995, Playboy recruited on the Yale campus in search of women for its “Women of the Ivy League” feature, which caused a group of female students to streak in protest.
So has Marchitto taken advantage of his newfound glory as Playboy liaison to win over the hearts of Yale women? Not just yet, he said.
“I haven’t used the line in my arsenal yet,” he said. “But I’ve told my circle of friends.”
If Marchitto is successful in rocking the campus with his Playboy-sponsored bashes, he stands a chance at being invited to the Playboy mansion for lunch and a private tour of the mansion grounds, as well as the opportunity to meet 2001 Playmate of the Year Brande Roderick.
Marchitto said he is motivated by a desire to “give kids a break.” By having Playboy-sponsored parties, he said, he hopes to alleviate some of the stress that accompanies the Ivy League college experience.
“It’s to be able to live life to the hilt, without being branded a dilettante or voluptuary,” said Marchitto — borrowing the words of Hugh Hefner.