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The Way of the NinjaGram

February 16, 2010

For the fourth time in five years, black-clad bearers of Valentine’s Day cards swarmed across Swarthmore, sneaking into classes and dorms to deliver their messages of love and affection with a dash of stealth and aggression. NinjaGrams, headed for the first time by Phil Chodrow ’11, had begun again.

It was not going to be an ordinary Valentine’s Day weekend for Chodrow, who assumed control over more than 300 cards and two dozen or so ninjas charged with sneaking up and delivering them. Chodrow admits he was a little bit in over his head.

“Having never been involved with this before,” he said. “It was definitely an eye-opener to realize exactly how much logistical and technical work goes in to making the campaign successful. I ended up devoting a lot of time that I didn't necessarily have to tabling and planning.”

Typically, as part of the NinjaGrams project, students would sign up to buy Valentine’s Day cards for their sweethearts, who would receive them at any time, any place, courtesy of a very stealthy ninja. To sweeten the deal to potential card-buyers, Chodrow and his team made truffles to accompany the cards, selling for $4 apiece, with all the money going to support the Haiti Community Support charity.

Naturally, the success or failure of any NinjaGram mission depends not on mere strategy, but on the man or woman in black. G. Patrick ’10, a veteran ninja, explained his take on the job of the messenger. “Being a ninja is not about following in any other ninja’s footsteps. Being a ninja is about embracing the true badassery of what you do,

Chodrow, seen here distributing cards to his helpers, said he was very happy with the results of his ninjas. “This year was absolutely a success for NinjaGrams,” he said. “We had tight organization, enthusiastic volunteers, great publicity, and an awesome delivery day. NinjaGram raised over $1,000, which is going straight to Haiti Community Support. We're very proud of this accomplishment, and we're hoping to send an even larger sum to a worthy cause next year.”

After sliding out of a Taiko class, mortally wounded in the course of a particularly high-stakes NinjaGram delivery, Chodrow popped up, gave the thumbs-up and said, “That was a good one.” Then he stole off, flanked by two stealthy subordinates, on to another mission.

  • Argos

    I hate this holiday.

  • Phil Chodrow ’12, NinjaGram Coordinator


    We're aware that a lot of people don't like Valentine's Day, but we try as hard as we can to add aat least a bit of fun for everyone, including those not involved with Valentine's Day romance.


  • Holly


    The ninjagrams were hilariously stealthy and entertaining. Thanks for making Valentine's Day splendidly fun!

  • Phil


    Thanks for that; it's great to hear that we helped to make your day a bit brighter. Perhaps you'll be a ninja next year?


  • loving it

    punny, read-aloud ninjagrams > all other varieties of ninjagrams or valentine's festivities for that matter.

    was there anything better than Kuperberg's or Leo's respective deliveries in Friday's macro class? I think not.

  • .

    bio 2's deliveries were crazier than macro's. i heard the tolkien seminar's was epic. somebody post the video up please!!!

  • Phil

    #5: I think I have to agree on read-aloud 'grams.

    #6: Brendan links to this video in picture 4, so check it out! I can ask the person who took the video to post on YouTube if necessary.

  • Cupid

    this is the postpostmodern age. nobody loves you.

  • Tom

    Wow Phil I didn't realize you were graduating next year 😉

  • Phil

    Tom: There's a lot you don't know about me.