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College Traditions: 15 Quirky Traditions You Never Knew About

By Edited Aug 16, 2015 1 6

College isn’t all about going to class and getting good grades. It is also about the friendships you acquire and the school’s goofy traditions that the students take part in. Most colleges have been around long enough that they have sacred traditions or fun and crazy traditions that the students take part in every year. Below are the 15 wackiest traditions held on college campuses around the U.S.

ASU Undie Run

1. ASU Undie Run – This recent tradition at Arizona State started back in 2008. Students show up in clothing they are willing to donate to charity. Once they strip down to their undies, they run the ASU Tempe campus. This event has grown to over 20,000 students per year and takes place on the last day of spring semester classes. Once the undie run is over, the students take to the bars located near the ASU campus and keep celebrating.

2. Birthday Dunk - Occidental College has its own unique tradition. If you are on campus during the day of your birthday at any time your friends can kidnap you and throw you into the Oxy Fountain. Happy Birthday!

3. Pumpkin Drop – College students from Muir College have their own tradition by watching a huge pumpkin being dropped from the 11-story Tioga Hall building. The pumpkin is filled with candy, so that students can find delicious treats while picking up the splattered pieces. The largest pumpkin to have been dropped was 398 pounds. I could only image the clean up after that.

4. Cadets vs. Civilians Snowball Fight – Virginia Tech is an interesting place to be when the first snowfall hits. Every year when it snows the campus erupts into a huge snowball fight. Anything goes in this fight as the cadets are pitted against the civilians for bragging rights on campus.     

5. Naked Quad Run – This long-standing college tradition started at Tufts College when Tufts (an all male school) and Jackson College (an all female school) merged into Tufts. The men were outraged at women’s rights so they streaked in front of the school’s President. Since then once per year the Tufts students will streak from the West Hall to the Residential Quad.

6. Orgo Night – At Columbia University the day before the Organic Chemistry exam, the Columbia University Marching Band has some fun with the students. They take over the reading room at the Butler Library and play as loudly as they can to distract all of the students trying to cram for finals. 

7. Fourth Year Fifth – Who said drinking is bad for you? Well don’t tell students at the University of Virginia. Some seniors have made it tradition to try and consume a fifth of liquor during the morning of the last football game at home. This tradition has raised many eyebrows with the public.

8. Full Moon on the Quad – Stanford students will make their way to the main quad. Once there they will line up and exchange kisses with random students. The seniors and freshmen usually do this.

Liquid Latex Art Show

9. Liquid Latex – Brandeis University has its own quirky tradition with latex. Each year almost a quarter of the students will participate in the Liquid Latex fashion show. You guessed it, a body art fashion show where they will wear only latex paint on their body.

10. Death by Chocolate – Who wouldn’t want to attend Pomona College? Each year they are treated to chocolate goodies galore during pre-finals, so while they are cramming their minds they can be cramming their mouths with chocolate.

11. Healy Howl – Georgetown is the place to be on Halloween. Ever since the Exorcist was filmed on the campus, every year students will venture out to the campus cemetery and they will howl at the moon. Wait a second, how many campuses have a cemetery onsite?     

12.  Duke Unofficial Graduation Requirements – At Duke they want you to complete a few things before graduation comes around. First you should drive backwards around the circle (the one that connect Campus Drive, Chapel Drive and others). Next go tunneling through one of the many underground tunnels that are filled with piping throughout the campus. After that climb Baldwin (the dome at the top). Once those are done you have 2 more things to do, have sex in the Gardens and in the Stacks (library). These should all be done in a timely manner so that you can graduate on time.

13. Polar Bear Swim – Dartmouth might be one of the crazier schools on this list. During their Winter Carnival, students drill an opening through the ice on Occom Pond and jump in with a rope tied around their waists. Hopefully no one dies from hypothermia.      

14. Hump it Aggies – Texas A&M has an interesting sporting tradition. During sporting events A&M fans will scream, “Hump it Aggies!” at the top of their lungs. They will also bend over in a humping position. Students will gather before the sporting events to practice their scream tactics so that it comes out just right.  


15. Dooley – Emory University has employed a different tradition. The school’s unofficial mascot Dooley, who takes after the biology lab skeleton, has his own week of fun. During Dooley’s Week at Emory, Dooley will randomly show up throughout the campus and let students out of class and then vanish to other areas of the campus.    

These traditions are what make college fun for everyone, as kids are experiencing life away from home for the first time. If you are on one of these campuses you should really take part in the quirky traditions set before you and have fun with it as they will be a lasting memory for you after you have graduated and moved on to bigger and better things. Even thought this list only focuses on 15 colleges and what they do for tradition, there are probably many more out there that are just as wacky, or pure crazy. Feel free to add them in the comments below if you know of one or two that are not listed here. If you are picking out a college as we speak, just remember these when you looking at all the different school.



May 6, 2012 10:17am
Thanks for writing such an interesting article. I would have never known about such traditions about colleges without this article. Thanks again.
May 7, 2012 1:10pm
My pleasure. It was fun writing on this topic.
May 7, 2012 6:54pm
Interesting article. Personally i would be to chicken to participate in some of these college traditions by others would be fun.
May 11, 2012 7:42am
Texas A&M has the bonfire tradition. No one was running naked at my school.
May 11, 2012 3:47pm
I attended ASU and have witnessed the Undie Run up close and personal. It is pretty crazy, especially afterwards when everyone stays out and they are walking all over campus. It is an interesting scene.
May 13, 2012 6:24am
I hadn't heard about most of these traditions, very cool article.
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