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Seriously: CDC announces sleeveless shirts as new frat flu symptom

Collegian | Madelyn Hendricks

Editor’s Note: This is a satire piece from The Collegian’s opinion section. Real names and the events surrounding them may be used in fictitious/semi-fictitious ways. Those who do not read the editor’s notes are subject to being offended.

As the leaves begin to turn and the temperatures begin to drop this upcoming week, preventing the October sicknesses that plague campus is of utmost importance. For those who frequent the Colorado State University fraternities, however, another symptom is just on the horizon, sweeping across the Solo-cup masses. 


This Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a nationwide statement warning college students that as the days shorten, so do their sleeves.

“It’s not unprecedented,” said Dylan George, director of CDC forecasting and outbreak analytics. “But we are seeing a record-high transmission rate — the second you go into a fraternity this fall, you’re guaranteed to come out different. Forever changed, per se.”

No amount of flu shots, vitamins or Pedialyte can stop this mutilation. Upon entry, you are bound to a grim and irreversible fate. Gone are the coughs, the runs or the perpetual vocal fry. These symptoms of the old frat flu are elementary, merely peripheral in comparison to the monster that will fuse itself to your beer-chiseled body: the sleeveless shirt. Time only exists as before, when you had sleeves, and after, when you don’t.

George said with the absence of sleeves, you might feel an absence of yourself.

“The symptom has symptoms,” George said. “It’s like a wildfire. First, you’ll feel the wind on your shoulders, a cold caress that lulls you into a false sense of security. You’ll think, ‘Oh, it’s just a breeze! It’s just a sleeveless shirt!’ No. It’s not just a sleeveless shirt. It never is. Right when you think that, that’s when the reckoning happens.”

According to the CDC, this reckoning includes constant flexing, Amazon carts full of pre-workout and an insatiable urge to commute via electric scooter.

Those who live in the frat have developed immunity to the sleeveless shirt, but it wasn’t always this way. Borgden Vino, president of CSU’s Kappa Epsilon Gamma Fraternity chapter, said that when he first rushed in fall 2019, a sleeveless shirt was the worst sickness he’s ever had.

“It all happened in a blur,” Vino said. “They don’t even warn you about it because they think it’ll deter you from pledging.”

You won’t know how the scissors arrived or where those flimsy strips of fabric went. Deprived of your sleeves, you’ll have to wear your heart on your chest or, as Vino and the pledges of KEG do, wear it on your trucker hat.


“Caps are the best remedy for dealing with sleeveless shirts,” Vino said. “My buddy forgot one last year, and things got so bad that the next morning, he woke up shirtless. Symptoms progress fast.”

Although fall’s colder temperatures are right around the corner and with them the aftermath of a sleeveless shirt, there are articles of clothing in place to prevent this debilitating lifestyle, like that coat your mom has been nagging you to wear for three years straight. And remember: Seasonal illness does not define you. You are more than your sleeves — or lack thereof.

Reach Emma Souza at or on Twitter @_emmasouza.

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    AbbyOct 3, 2023 at 10:32 am

    I enjoyed this