Ninja Grams

Ninjas spreading Valentine love
Associate Professor of Music John Alston encounters ninjas

"Love doesn't come in a minute, sometimes it doesn't come at all," an old song goes. And indeed, for some of us, love hasn't come yet, and St. Valentine's Day remains one of the most insignificant and boring days in the year - until we come to Swarthmore!

For in Swarthmore, St. Valentine's Day acquires a whole new meaning thanks to Ninja Grams. Every St. Valentine's Day, hordes of ninja emerge from the darkness of McCabe basement to become the greatest ninja-powered-Valentine's Day-card-delivery-system the world has ever known. One of Swarthmore's most beloved and popular traditions, the NinjaGram campaign is a massive undertaking by and for Swarthmore students.

For one day, ninjas infiltrate every corner of the campus. Whether they're lurking in the halls, ambushing unsuspecting diners in Sharples, embarrassing unsuspecting professors, or staging spectacular reenactments of popular movies in packed lecture halls, you can be sure that they have only one mission: to deliver handmade Valentine's Day cards and hilarious ninja-themed comedy to all of Swarthmore campus.

Ninjas ambush people outside, in classes, in Sharples Dining Hall-there is no haven from their St. Valentine's Day onslaught.


Philip Chodrow '12
Staunton, Va.
"Running the NinjaGram campaign might be, in all seriousness, one of the most fun and rewarding things I've done, ever. I love the planning, the advertising, the frantic last-minute scramble, and, most of all, the result: a whole horde of ninjas from all walks of Swarthmore life, sneaking around campus for a day in the names of romance, comedy, and charity." Read Philip's Daily Gazette interview.

How it Works:

Weeks before Valentine's Day, the ninjas will appear at the top of Sharples Dining Hall, to swell their numbers, sell cards, and startle bystanders. Buying a card is easy! We'll give you a beautiful handmade NinjaGram, in which you can write, draw, sign your name-anything you'd like. Just $3 gets you a handmade card to be delivered by a hilariously sneaky ninja! For $4, we'll deliver the card with one of Phil's ridiculously chocolatey homemade truffles. Are you scared that you'll be attacked? For $3, you can obtain Ninsurance©, protecting you against attack through your very own defense ninja!

Best of all, all profits go to charity. In previous years, the Ninjas have supported the Animal Coalition of Delaware County, Swat Sudan, Hurricane Katrina Relief, and Earthlust. In 2010, the Ninjas were proud to send over $1,000 to Haiti Community Support, contributing to relief efforts after the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti. In 2011, NinjaGrams supported Global Neighbors and the CADES program, which sent relief to Haiti. In 2012, proceeds went to  Independent Thought & Social Action International in India, co-founded by Riana Shah '14. 

If ambush and deceit are your favorite ways of saying "I love you," come find us. Before we find you.

On St. Valentine's Day, no one is safe from the outlandish ninja cry: "NINJAAAA Graaaammaaaaaa!"


photo by Andrew Cheng '12/The Phoenix