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7 Unique, Weird, and Downright Awesome College Traditions

Amber Gilsdorf May 12, 2020

Traditions can be a marvelous thing. They ground us to the past, inspire nostalgia, and occasionally make absolutely no sense whatsoever. The traditions below fit all of said categories, but best of all, provide a fun distraction from current events! Enjoy!

College Traditions

Clark University: Elephant Thursdays 

Elephants live in Massachusetts, right? Only if you are a student at Clark University. On Thursday every week, if you are seen by the Elephant Administrator (the person with the giant elephant hat) wearing a GREY shirt/sweatshirt/jacket or any sort of elephant-related article of clothing/jewelry/accessory/paraphernalia (doesn't have to be grey as long as there's an elephant on it), you will be awarded one Elephant Ticket (a little piece of paper with an elephant on it). Make sure you save up your points, because if you cash them in at the end of the school year in May, you can get a prize depending on how many points you have!

North Carolina State University: Krispy Kreme Challenge

Each year when spring semester rolls around, NC State students take part in the Krispy Kreme Challenge - a 5-mile race to and from the local Krispy Kreme store. Upon arriving at Krispy Kreme each participant downs a dozen donuts in an hour or less. Then they have to run back to campus! Ewwwwwww. But, this race races around $200k annually for the area children’s hospital.

Carleton College: The Primal Scream 

At 10:00 p.m. the night before finals start, Carleton students lean out their windows and let out a collective unearthly wail of anguish and despair. Then they go back to though nothing happened.

Carleton College: Silent Dance Party

And in the hour immediately following The Primal Scream, Carleton students sync up to a master playlist, put their headphones in and press play all at the same time. Then a massive dance party starts at the library and travels to other buildings on campus. Both the scream and the dance party occur over the two days leading up to finals as a fun way to de-stress.

Purdue University: The Purdue Grand Prix 

Every April this exciting go-kart race is held at Purdue University. Any student can participate in the race, and every five years an additional alumni race is held for former students. Best of all, there is an entire week of celebration surrounding the race. 

Cornell University: Cornell Dragon Day 

Architecture and Engineering students battling it out? Doesn’t sound terribly exciting until a dragon and phoenix get involved. Over a century old, each spring architecture students build a massive dragon, which they parade across campus. The dragon then "battles" with a large phoenix, built by engineering students.

University of Pennsylvania: Toast Throw

After the third quarter of each home UPenn football game, students sing a traditional school spirit song. The final line of the song states, “Here’s a toast to dear old Penn.” In a literal interpretation, students throw actual toast and more than a few bagels onto the field. During a good season, anywhere between 20,000 and 30,000 baked goods will be thrown on the field that year.

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