The time had come. The time where you got to experience something as life-changing as this for the first time. You packed the car up and made your way to the college you knew you would get something special out of. The school that could give you that “could not eat, could not sleep” feeling in your guts, would soon become your home for the next four years. From the courses offered, campus scenery or historical traditions, we know that the special traditions of our own schools create nostalgic energy that cannot exist anywhere else. It all started one year from nothing and soon became something that students and faculty alike can celebrate together even today.
Our minds and ears expand to new heights as the traditions we love to live up to the hype with us!
The top 10 schools with the best traditions its students can look forward to participating in:
10. University of Central Florida’s Spirit Splash
Among the many Central Floridian schools lies a modern, fun and inviting university making headlines with its “Spirit Splash”. This tradition started in 1995, a whole 25 years ago! “Spirit Splash” takes place on the main campus pond, luring in students and teachers alike. It all started when someone pushed the student body president into the campus pond during homecoming. Now, during this legendary event, the students rush into a pond to celebrate homecoming. Celebrating homecoming in any university differs, but UCF chooses to make it its own by hosting this event each year. “I went to Spirit Splash in order to get involved around campus and I met so many wonderful people by doing so,” UCF 2nd year Mike Minns said. In addition to this tradition, UCF has another great way to celebrate and incorporate lasting traditions. The school favorites and honors pride by dedicating a whole week to LGTB pride where students can enjoy leisure time from their given time off during the week. With a school that provides so many wonderful ways to stay hyped, it seemed it all started with a simple incident that turned into a tradition many students and faculty can participate in this day.
9. Cornell University’ Fish on Ice
Watch out for that flying fish! Cornell University’s “Fish on Ice” tradition goes back to 1901 when its student body decided to participate in a historic moment that goes back one hundred years. On this day, students that watch school hockey games created a plot twist leading to an unexpected turn of events. “One huge tradition is when Harvard comes into town for hockey, and the students throw a fish onto the ice. Since it can be hard to get fish into the venue, people throw anything that resembles fish like candy and squid,” Cornell Alumni Michael Hernandez said. The students pull this prank when Harvard comes into town creating moments of laughter as this weird and unique tradition of throwing fish on the ice comes about. The feeling of getting popped right into the movie Ice Age makes this event obscure yet always memorable. This tradition brings in the spirit of school history while making the conversations that stem from it everlasting.
8. Le Moyne College’s Dolphy Day
What better way to get rid of the stress of all your hard work, than to get surprised with a day off? This tradition started in 1971, where faculty surprises students with a day off after a week of finals. Shh, don’t tell anyone else, you may let the secret out! The faculty keep it a secret until it begins at 2 a.m., and for the rest of the day, students enjoy barbecues and partying until their feet need a rest from all the free time they have. This party takes place once a year where students and faculty will unwind on the first warm day of classes in April. “Dolphy Day” shows quite an extraordinary way for its students to get recognized for all their hard work as college students by freeing their minds and relaxing. Le Moyne thrives at creating memories that will last for decades with their beloved Dolphy Day tradition.
7. Dartmouth College’s Winter Carnival
At a college with so much history that accumulates over the years, Dartmouth has a tradition that has kept its rhythm and momentum ever since its birth in 1910. The school celebrates the beauty of the Winter season in the Upper Valley of New Hampshire to celebrate the achievement of the school’s sports team. Every year, the school keeps it interesting by incorporating a different theme that the students and faculty can participate in. Last year, “Ice Age” was a huge success allowing students to show off the sports skills they honed over the previous weeks. This year’s theme is mysterious creatures around the world with “A Blizzard of Unbelievable Beasts.” The weekend’s winter sporting celebration lasts about three days across campus to honor the hard work the sports teams put into their craft. Who wouldn’t want to join in on all this fun? This carnival has taken place for over 100 years and features activities like ski races and building ice sculptures in teams. Put on your warmest coat because you need to get ready for the Dartmouth’s fun-filled and festive “Winter Carnival”.
6. University of Florida’s Gator Growl
Music, laughter, and great memories start right here at the University of Florida’s “Gator Growl”. What a time to be alive where students can participate in one of the world’s largest student-run pep rally, capping off their Homecoming Week. “As far as the University of Florida, the tradition is to attend Gator Growl which is the homecoming celebration every year. It’s a huge performance at the stadium where there are tons of fireworks, musicals acts, and comedians. It is a yearly tradition and I remember going in 1987,” FSU Alumni Greg Weiser said. His memory proves a timeless love for these traditions that live on in the students who attended UF. This year headliners included musical groups The Fray and Sister Hazel, as well as the New Directions Veterans Choir. History always repeats itself, but the University of Florida builds upon these histories, making each “Gator Growl” more special than the one prior.
5. University of Miami’s Sports Spirit
Feel the ‘U’ this year, as we dive into what makes this university’s football team stand out. Kc McDermott, UM alumni, a high school friend and UM’s star football player once told me that his school has a special school tradition when it comes to football. “They hold up the “U” sign using four fingers to signify the fourth quarter of a game. “The smoke,” is a huge deal for the football players as they run through it before all sports games and especially in between the first and second quarter. The student section plays a song when the beat drops and then the entire section is filled with smoke,” McDermott said. The Alma mater helps creates a spark in the air during their games as everyone waves their right arm in the air in slow motion. The feeling of everyone singing together in harmony speaks on behalf of the goosebumps on everyone’s arms when attending a sporting event like the ones here at UM. Nothing speaks louder than hearing the crowd of both sides of the bleachers chant with purpose in honor of their school’s name.
4. Ohio State University’s Mirror Lake Jump
Hold onto your caps because this story will blow your mind just as much as it brings us back to college traditions as they should be. The tradition started in 1990 when a student named Jim Jones led a parade of students on a traditional march around campus aimed to hype the students up before their school’s football game. Imagine walking on campus and seeing a huge parade of students gathered together to participate in a celebratory and just as crazy college tradition. The university never sanctioned the jump, yet thousands of students suddenly plunged into Mirror Lake, a small lake on campus, to celebrate the victory the school’s football victory against Michigan. This tradition encourages its students to jump into the lake around midnight on Tuesday night prior to the annual football game. They have quite the sportsmanship because that water must be freezing!
3. The University of Chicago’s Scavenger Hunt
This tradition not only boasts the world’s largest scavenger hunt but spans over four days from Thursday to Sunday of Mother’s Day weekend. University of Chicago’s “Scavenger Hunt” holds the Guinness World Record for the largest scavenger hunt from 2011 to 2014. Started in 1987, the event involves finding over 300 items hidden around campus. The unveiling of the list usually begins a few hours before midnight, as teams slowly assemble on the ground floor of Ida Noyes Hall. Participants in this scavenger hunt can go as far as 1,000 miles from Chicago’s campus. The school also provides a blood drive for people to contribute to along with the hunt. The length the students go to make this tradition memorable creates a quite a journey for this dedicated and good-intentioned scavenger hunt. Nevertheless, I’ll bet you students find what they were looking for, and more, with great excitement and accomplishment each time.
2. Penn State University’s THON weekend
With no time to spare in this precious life, Penn State has made a huge change in the lives of a non- profit organization called Four-Diamond and the families’ lives that it involves through THON weekend. This tradition started in 1973, in which students, volunteers and The Four Diamonds families that belong to the charity join together to give kids and families an opportunity to fight their cancer alongside supporters. Over 700 students become dancers for this event, in which they pledge not to sleep and attend a dance marathon for 46 hours while giving back to this good cause. In the end, all of the proceeds go towards the Four Diamonds fund to fight cancer. Participating students and volunteers take pride in giving back to those who need encouragement, funds, and support. Recently, the school just raised 11.7 million for kid’s cancer research and support for the families who this sickness affects. You too can become part of this tradition by participating in your university’s Dance Marathon based around cancer research. Every school has its own way to dance for a specific cause, so do not miss out on your opportunity to give back this year. I personally did so during my freshman year and experienced the newfound feeling of gratitude. Life remains too short to not make the world a better place and it starts with one THON weekend at a time.
1. Indiana University’s Little 500
At Indiana University their main athletic tradition started in 1951, which was modeled after the largest bike race in the country. The race, otherwise known as “Little 500”, includes men and women who come out and participate in this athletic event. The men’s race is 200 laps while the women’s race is 100 laps—attracting more than 25,000 people to this adventurous and physically-testing event. You can also become part of the tradition by becoming a corporate sponsor of the “Little 500”. The feeling of getting some exercise while getting involved at your school compares to no other. Belonging to a university that makes you feel at home will bring some euphoric feelings to your body that will stay for the long-run.