Traditions at Popular Universities

6 minute read

College is much more than preparing for tests and attending lectures. It is a place to network, make friends, gain experience and learn how to be a responsible individual. Thus things that happen outside a classroom are equally important, whether it be events, society activities, internships, or university traditions that have been a part of the university for ages. Do you know universities across the world including the USA, Canada, Spain, France, Germany, and Australia have student traditions that are passed on from one batch to another? Look at some of the most bizarre university traditions and campus activities that might surprise you!

Courtesy: Clark University

Spree Day at Clark University in the USA is a fun day chosen at random by university officials during the Spring semester when classes are canceled and students get to celebrate with exciting activities on the green. It’s also tradition to keep Spree Day a secret from first-year students, and on the day of the event, seniors wake them up by racing around the hostels and smashing pots and pans which makes it one of the most exciting university traditions in the world.

Though it is technically a secret day, it is said to take place on the second Tuesday in April every year. Bands, entertainment, and fun inflatables are all part of the celebrations.

Courtesy: Cornell University

Dragon Day at Cornell University, USA, is another one of the most common university traditions around the world, which usually happens in mid-March each year as a preparation for Spring Break. A dragon march around campus with a gigantic dragon built by first-year architecture students is part of the tradition, which dates back over a century. The students dress up as dragons and parade them around the Arts Quad, where their rival engineering students await them with a gigantic phoenix ready to fight the dragon.

Source: Columbia Daily Spectator

This event, which is essentially a pre-organic chemistry final study night sabotage, occurs twice a year. Columbia University‘s Marching Band eventually breaks into the library and parades about campus, playing at outrageous volumes in an attempt to irritate organic chemistry students (it is a marching band, after all). Orgo Night is said to have originated as a way to decrease the curve on the organic chemistry test, but the only thing we know for sure is that it irritates the students who are studying for the final (hahaha).

Carleton College: Silent Dance Party!

Source: Carleton College

When we talk about the most common university traditions, we can not miss the Dance Party of Carleton College. A day or two before the final terms, Carleton has a quiet dance party at about eleven o’clock at night. The silent dance party participants download the same hour-long playlist of dance music created by the party organizer, which is a comparatively recent tradition at the college. They assemble on the first floor of the library, headphones on, and at a certain moment, they press play on their devices. Students silently dance from the library to other spots throughout campus while the dance party continues to listen to the music.

Emory University: Dooley’s Week!

Source: Emory News

Emory University‘s unofficial mascot is called Dooley, a non-scary skeleton clothed in full black. On-campus, students regularly repeat his slogan and are well-versed in the Dooley story. Students are selected as Dooley’s official bodyguards and follow him clothed in black throughout Dooley’s Week — the student who dresses up as Dooley each year is nameless. He’s quite awesome because when he goes into a classroom, all of the students are let out! Dooley’s week culminates in a costume party where kids may show off their talents. “Dooley’s week” is undoubtedly one of the most famous university traditions that we can witness around the world.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Pumpkin Drop!

Source: MIT Admissions

Hundreds of frozen pumpkins are thrown off the Green Building on the MIT campus every year at midnight on the Saturday before Halloween. In case you were wondering, frozen pumpkins produce a significantly larger explosion. The students at MIT enjoy throwing stuff off buildings during this weird yet, one of the craziest and fun university traditions. They also have a yearly piano and sodium drop in addition to the pumpkin drop. They also have an annual Tuition Riot, Time Traveler Convention, and Bad Ideas Festival — none of which are related to the pumpkin drop, but all of which are extremely fantastic as university traditions.

Murray State University: Shoe Tree!

Source: Flickr

The origins of this practice are unknown, but it became one of the most popular university traditions at Murray State for college sweethearts to return to campus and nail mismatched shoes — one from each of the couples to the shoe tree. The shoes are frequently inscribed with names, anniversary dates, and other memories, similar to a love lock. Sometimes, after starting a family, couples continue the custom by tying their baby’s shoes to the tree as well!

University of Pennsylvania: Toast Toss!

Source: Penn News

At home football games at the University of Pennsylvania, students toss slices of toast onto the field after the third quarter. After alcohol was outlawed at the stadium in the 1970s, it became a popular university tradition. When fans heard the lyric “Here’s a toast to dear old Penn” in the song “Drink a Highball,” they were no longer allowed to “toast” (as they had done in the past). A good season, according to the university, can see 20,000 to 30,000 pieces of toast tossed at every event. The university even has a Zamboni skilled at picking up the toast!

Yale University: Rub The Toe!

Source: Roz Savage

Nobody knows where it started, but rubbing one foot on a bronze statue of former Yale University president James Dwight Woolsey is said to bring good luck, particularly to high school students wanting to get into the university. Prospective “Yalies” are taught by their tour guides that it is customary to rub the toe of Woolsey’s shoe in the hopes of catching some of his good luck. “Rub the Toe” is undoubtedly one of the most famous university traditions around the world that we can witness at Yale University.

No one gives a second thought to students nailing their shoes to trees or throwing pumpkins. These college traditions, on the other hand, are an important part of what brings a group of students together to form a community. 


What college has the best traditions?

There are many colleges which have the best traditions, these include Le Moyne College, Brice Milleson, Indiana University, Brice Milleson and many more.

What is the tradition at Barnard College?

For more than a decade, Barnard College hosted the campuswide tradition of “Barnard Big Sub,” wherein students lined up to eat a 750-foot-long chain of sandwiches made by the school’s dining services.

What traditions do they have at Harvard University?

At Harvard University, students get to have an experience of games, arts, Global Day of Service and much more.

In this blog, we saw some of the most common university traditions around the world. Tell us which tradition you like the most in the comment section below. Planning to study abroad? Connect with Leverage Edu and our trained experts will help you in selecting the best college for you and help you in your visa application process.

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *