Some Weird College Traditions

College culture revolves around age-old traditions, some rather crazy and some downright dangerous. Although these traditions may not be Dean approved they are surely entertaining to say the least.

1. Foot of Good Luck – Yale University

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Rumor has it that rubbing the brozen foot of a statue of former university president James Dwight Woolsey will ensure good luck, especially for high school prospects that are hoping to be accepted. Since the foot is covered in bacteria, no one really rubs it. There is another tradition related to the infamous foot: In order to graduate, some upperclassmen are rumored to urinate on the foot at night.

2. Homer Statue – University of Virginia

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The University of Virginia has a bizarre tradition that revolves around its statue of Homer. Students streak at the Rotunda steps, run across the lawn, either kiss or smack Homer’s bum (depending on what the streaker’s height permits), and then runs back to the Rotunda. Streakers risk being caught by campus police who are rumored to slap students with a “sex offender” title. So if you ever visit the university, be sure to keep your clothes on!

3. Mirror Lake Jump – Ohio State University

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This unwise, somewhat dangerous tradition began in 1990 when about 100 students jumped into Mirror Lake two nights before the football team faced off against Michigan, the school’s greatest rival. Nowadays, thousands of students make the jump the night before the Ohio State-Michigan game. Although it may seem like harmless fun, the tradition takes place during a frigid time of year, causing some students to experience hypothermia.

4. Seventh Annual Nitrogen Day – Reeds College

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Reed College believes that nitrogen is highly undervalued and unappreciated element so the college commemorates the special element every year with its Seventh Annual Nitrogen Day. The reason every year is labeled as Seventh is because nitrogen is seventh on the periodic table. But the holiday is more of an excuse to have fun and enjoy the campus festival.

5. Shoe Tree – Murray State University

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Though its origins are unclear, tradition states that college sweethearts who fall in love and marry must come back to the tree and nail two shoes (one from each partner) to it. The shoes are often marked with the couple’s anniversary, and sometimes, couples return to the tree to post baby shoes once starting a family. It is certainly an adorable tradition yet the significance of choosing a shoe as the object of choice is quite weird.

6. Carleton College’s Primal Scream

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In an attempt to relieve stress the night before finals start, all Carleton students stick their heads out of a window at precisely 10 P.M. and scream. (Similar traditions also exist at Columbia University and Stanford among others.) After the cringing period of shrieking and wailing, the students go back to studying as if nothing ever happened. It may be a bizarre ritual, but it sounds like more fun than releasing stress.

7. Offerings to ‘Testudo’ – University of Maryland

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According to tradition, if you give something as an offering to the Terrapin’s Testudo, your academic woes will be a time of the past. Notorious for its luck, the trusty turtle will not only save you from failing your exam that you studied last minute for, but will also ensure that you won’t graduate a virgin.

8. 4.0 Ball – UC Berkeley

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The stone ball in front of the Campanile is more than a century old, but the tradition associated with it is much newer. Apparently, rubbing it right before taking an exam is good luck, along with wearing your lucky socks and getting a good night’s sleep.

9. Ski-Beach Day – Pomona College

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Only in southern California would it be possible to ski and go to beach on the same day. Though students aren’t quite sure just how Ski-Beach Day got its start, they do know bits and pieces of its origins. According to tradition, a busload of Pomona students heads to Mountain High resort to take on the slopes. Then in the afternoon, they board the bus and head to Newport Beach to finish the day with a cookout and boogie boards. The tradition is carried out for one day in February or March.

10. White out – Penn State University

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Penn State’s “White Out” for special home football games is certainly one of the most breathtaking examples of the growing trend. It is a tradition whereby around 100,000 fans come to Beaver Stadium all donned in white shirts, which creates a huge sea of ivory. The tradition started back in 2005, but it has already become one of the most talked about annual events in college football.

11. Naked Mile – UC Davis

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University of California, Davis has a unique tradition where once a year, the Davis track team and friends streak across the campus in the late night Naked Mile.

12. Husky Statue – Northeastern University

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Northeastern University has a good luck campus tradition of its own. You just have to rub the nose of Husky statue in the EII Hall and surely you will see your fortune rise.

13. Midnight Breakfast – Fordham University

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According to this tradition, which has been carried out for decades, the official beginning of the final exam period each semester is marked by a “midnight breakfast,” in which professors cook students their favorite breakfast items so as to prepare them for the long night of studying ahead of them.

14. Aztecs – San Diego State University

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One of San Diego State’s most honored traditions is the all-black uniform the Aztecs wear when playing at home. The “look” has become as much a part of Aztec football as the forward pass. In fact, the concept was the brainchild of the man who brought the modern passing game not only to San Diego State, but to college football – Don Coryell.

15. The Freshmen Run – Vanderbilt University

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Apparently all freshmen are required to attend the first football game of the season plus they have to run across the whole field before the game as well. The pre-football game tailgates are said to be one of a kind of the Vanderbilt University.

16. MayFest – Syracuse University

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Every May, the university gives students a day off. The tradition started as a way of showcasing student work and achievements, so that further are art shows and stuff like that could be arranged, but everyone uses the day off to have fun and party in the street. Hence it’s called MayFest.

17. Jumping into the Fountain – University of Arizona

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University of Arizona has a range of traditions but jumping into the fountain at Old Main before graduation is a tradition you shouldn’t miss.

18. ‘Rammer Jammer’ Chant – University of Alabama


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Besides Roll Tide, there’s nothing that Alabama fans love to say more than “Rammer Jammer, Yellow Hammer, give ‘em hell, Alabama!” A tradition which started way back, the cheer signifies an Alabama victory, and you can hear Crimson Tide fans passionately screaming it in the closing minutes of games when the outcome is certain.

19. Dunk in the Foley Pond – Loyola Marymount University

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Loyola Marymount University has a tradition quite different than other institutions. You are thrown into Foley Pond as a rite of passage. For your friends, it’s definitely a win-win: They simultaneously celebrate you and publicly humiliate you. For you, you know you’re a Lion.

20. Cadet vs. Civilian Snowball Fight – Virginia Tech University

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Occurring during the first big snowfall of the year, the fight kicks off with the pulling of a fire alarm, which gets the student body out on a grassy stretch of land known as the Drillfield – which is where the snow starts flying. When you hear the sound of a fire alarm screaming in your ear, you know its game time. Run for cover, attack, and protect yourself as best you can because the snowballs will surely rain upon you.

21. Dragon Day – Cornell University

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On the Friday before spring break, students of the College of Architecture, Art, and Planning, decked out in elaborate costumes, parade a giant model dragon around the Cornell campus, eventually coming to rest in the Arts Quad.

22. Sod Cemetery – Florida State University

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Of all the traditions, FSU has the most unique one among them. The university has a proper cemetery for dead pieces of sod. Dating back to 1962, this bizarre cemetery was born when Professor Dean Coyle Moore dared the football team to bring back sod from Sanford Stadium’s football field. Gene McDowell, the team captain, followed through with this challenge, and when Moore was given the chunk of grass, he buried it at the FSU practice field to commemorate the team’s recent victory. The tradition of sod stealing continues to this day, where captains are expected to bring back a piece of the opposing team’s field.

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