Campus Life

Outstanding College Traditions

College spirit is something that's almost immediately apparent after stepping onto a college campus and spending some time among the student body. Much of that spirit comes by way of traditions. Recently, I was talking to a Princeton undergrad about student life on that Ivy League campus and I asked her what was happening there. She said, “Nothing much, just the birth of new traditions." I had to wonder about “new traditions," so I did a little research and found an interesting roundup article about just that: college traditions.

I have referred to to Campus Grotto before here, whenever I wanted to report on the pulse of college life. Their articles have a way of bringing together many disparate elements into a cogent amalgamation of helpful and interestingly written survey articles. Their recent The 100 Greatest College Traditions is a fascinating look at the kinds of campus-spirit-inspired activities that persist from year to year at colleges across the nation. I recall some of the traditions from my college days and some of those memories are painful for funny reasons.

For example, during the first week of my freshman year, my roommate and I were rousted from our wee-hours deep sleep by loud shouts and banging outside our dorm room door. Peeking out to see what was going on, I saw a gang of about 10 upperclassmen, mostly seniors, heading toward me. The leader of the group was carrying a fire extinguisher. My roommate thought that there was a fire in the building and started to throw his valuables into a small gym bag. Before he could finish his panicked inventory, the mob burst into our room and the head “fire fighter" began spraying loud bursts of extinguisher gas at our feet, sending my roommate and me into a kind of hilarious, screaming dance, similar to Yosemite Sam shooting and yelling, “Dance, Varmint!"

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