Fanny And I: Barnard’s Fanny Pack Craze

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Lauren Oneulm, Barnard ’22, stands outside of Milstein with her fanny pack

Elle Ferguson, new Bwog staff writer and freshman at Barnard College, covers the most important event in the Grand Opening of the Milstein Library: the free fanny packs.

Last week’s grand opening of the Milstein Center was a hit; but not just because of the crazy-rich donors and Barnard fulfilling its purpose to educate future female leaders with their new movement laboratory – no, an unexpected celebrity made an appearance: Milstein Fanny Packs.

In the span of two hours, Barnard staff at the Milstein center handed out 1500 fanny packs to enthusiastic students and faculty. Yes, 1500. The idea to hand out fanny packs came from the communications department. According to David Hopson, the creative director of the department, the tip came from a student who told him that fanny packs were back in style.

“I have fond memories of the fanny pack,” Hopson says, recalling the fanny pack he used in his trip across Europe in the 80s, “but I was also happy to see them die.” When asked about how he felt about the return to the fashion arena, Hopson said he was “ambivalent … But you have to follow the youth in these things.”

Hopson’s ambivalence was not shared with the Barnard student body, who demonstrated an overwhelmingly positive reaction to their newly-acquired gifts. Maia Robinson, a freshman at Barnard said, “I’m really happy because I’ve wanted a fanny packs for a couple of weeks, and now I got one for free that reps my school, so how can it get any better?” Robinson’s friend Lauren Oneulm, another freshman at Barnard shared Maia’s joy in receiving her fanny pack. “I’m feeling like I’ve never received a better gift in the world,” Oneulm starf.

Many students felt that the fanny pack gift was not representative of the school just because it had the Milstein logo on it, but because it spoke to the cultural commitment to fashion at Barnard. “Fashion at Barnard is very important so this only helps the statement that we all make in our clothing,” Robinson said about her fanny pack. “Now I’m part of the trend. Thanks, Barnard.”

Left: Oneulm, Center: Robinson, Right: Eddie Hunt, Barnard faculty

For some students, this event brought them closer to the fanny pack craze. “I never appreciated fanny packs enough,” Alex Volgyesi, a Barnard freshman said. “I wore one to my first party at Columbia and I felt so empowered.”

Beyond the fanny pack’s aesthetic, it has proved very useful to her, especially at the party scene. “I always have a dilemma… if you wear a purse, it gets in the way of your dancing. If you wear a backpack, it’s annoying… When I wore this fanny pack I felt like it was a perfect fit… I’m gonna treat her [the fanny pack] real well,” Volgyesi added.

These fanny packs will continue to make appearances around Barnard and Columbia’s campus, as many students have plans involving their gifts. Robinson said she would “definitely be wearing it to fashion week next year.” Oneulm sees the fanny pack as a bonding opportunity and plans to wear her fanny pack matching with her friends. She refers to her fanny pack as her “beautiful, Milstein baby.”

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