For some background, Ecole Polytechnique is a military school and the students that are lucky enough to get accepted actually get a monthly stipend to support their studies (and pay no tuition).  In return, they do about six months of military service during their first year.

Onto my story: The Kès is the student government at Polytechnique that organizes activities and such. It consists of 15 students that run as a group under a theme, and the campaign lasts a full week. This year there were three hopefuls: the Walt DisKès, the Lucky LuKès, and ToutanKèsmon (my favorites from last year were the Kès-Fu Pandas).  At the beginning of the week they each paint a mural on the wall of a school building, as  seen below.

The ToutanKèsmon
The ToutanKèsmon
The Walt DisKès
The Walt DisKès
The Lucky LuKès
The Lucky LuKès

The new Kès is elected at the end of November every year, so the week before exams we were treated to many delights in the main hall of the school where each group set up camp.

Giant castle built by the Walt DisKès
Giant castle built by the Walt DisKès

They each have about 16,000€ to spend for the week.  SIXTEEN THOUSAND.  I must say that is a ridiculous amount of money to spend on interrupting classes to give out crêpes.  Activities during the week included:

  • Life-size foosball in a giant blow-up bouncy house
Students held onto sliders connected to the metal bars running across horizontally, which restricted motion like a real foosball game. It was awesome.


  • Different groups of students interrupting lectures and recitation sections to give out everything from crepes to cookies to coffee. We even threw tennis balls at a pyramid of cans during one particularly boring lecture.
  • DDR (dance dance revolution) set up on a giant projector screen. I’m secretly pretty good since my brother and I played a lot growing up, so I impressed all my friends.
  • Darts with prizes like glow-in-the-dark condoms, mini vibrators, and t-shirts
  • A giant box of cornstarch and water that we could play with/run across
Note the ripple where she just ran across the surface


  • Free professional massages
  • Unlimited crêpes, including both savory ham-cheese-and-egg crêpes and sweet nutella-and-banana crêpes, also delivered to your room at any time of day or night
  • Giant bowling with a giant hollow blow-up ball that we could climb inside of in order to launch the ball down the lane
  • A giant blow-up version of a Wipe-out challenge
The smaller green balls were for throwing at people trying to traverse the giant red balls.  They got a lot of use.
The smaller green balls were for throwing at people trying to traverse the giant red balls. They got a lot of use.

Lastly, a full dinner for the whole school was prepared by each group.  While the dinners themselves were pretty standard (i.e. chicken and veggies, or couscous and sausage), there was also entertainment after dinner.  For the Toutankèsmon this included barely-dressed girls dancing provocatively to music (think fishnets and a skintight leotard with lacy bras showing through).  Apparently these girls came from a nearby school and they are part of a dance team that does this for fun, although I can’t for the life of me think of why I would want to learn a choreographed sexy dance and then perform it in front of a bunch of nerdy guys.  It was super weird.  I couldn’t bring myself to take a picture because it was just too weird, but many of the guys were loving it.  Considering the school is more than 80% male, I guess this group knows how to win over the main demographic.  For the record, they didn’t win, but that might have more to do with the Lucky LuKès’s amazing crêpes (they were definitely better than the others, in my totally biased opinion).