Hearing the term “US college traditions” might call to mind stodgy teas with the dean or rowdy football games.
But the crazy college traditions we’ve compiled are way more interesting than that! From Harley-riding ducks to campus luaus, some US college traditions are truly unique.
1. Mainland Luau: Menlo College, Atherton, CA
It might not be located in Hawaii, but that doesn’t stop Menlo College from hosting an annual luau for its students. Hawaiian food, music and dances are all part of this US college tradition. No word on whether or not there’s a roast pig on a spit!
2. Scary Stuff: Georgetown University, Washington, DC
Georgetown University students are proud of the fact that part of “The Exorcist” was shot on their campus. Come Halloween, the Hoyas don’t just dress up in costumes, they celebrate their campus’ Hollywood history by watching this scary flick, and then meeting near a cemetery to howl at the moon.
3. Icy Dash: Tufts University, Medford, MA
At Tufts University, students brave the winter elements and strip down for a naked dash through the quad every year. Campus officials have warned against the tradition of sprinting up icy hills in the nude, but so far it has carried on.
4. Harley-Davidson Duck: University of Oregon, Eugene, OR
This college tradition depends on one school mascot that it’s okay to call a quack: the University of Oregon kicks off its home football games by having its mascot, a duck, ride into the stadium on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle.
5. Guardian Angels: Sewanee, Sewanee, TN
Sewanee, The University of the South, sits atop a mountain so close to heaven that some have said the school must have a guardian angel. If you’re on campus, you can even “borrow” the angel: when you drive through the campus gates in your car, just tap on the car roof to call the angel to your side – when you get back, tap again to set it free.
6. Nitrogen Day: Reed College, Portland, OR
Once a year, students at Reed College gather to celebrate Nitrogen, one of the world’s most under-appreciated but useful elements. This college tradition is always referred to as “Seventh Annual Nitrogen Day” because Nitrogen is the seventh element on the periodic table.
7. The Shoe Tree: Murray State, Murray, KY
At Murray State University, married college sweethearts return to the school to nail a shoe to this tree. (We’re not sure why shoes are the chosen object, but so be it.) In fact, some couples even nail children’s shoes to the tree to celebrate their growing family.
8. Stress-Busting Screams: Carleton College, Northfield, MN
Another school tackles exam-week stress a bit differently: At Carleton College, it’s understood that at 10 p.m. the night before finals start, students all stick their heads out their windows and simultaneously scream and yell for all they’re worth. Minutes later, they’re back to hitting the books.
9. Hiking Tinker: Hollins University, Roanoke, VA
“Tinker Day” is a much-beloved event at Hollins University. Students gather en masse to climb nearby Tinker Mountain. More than just a great way to get some exercise, this tradition also allows students to let loose, as many dress up in zany outfits to complete the trek.
10. Latex Art Show: Brandeis University, Waltham, MA
At Brandeis University, the liquid latex art show uses students’ bodies as a canvas once a year, “clothing” them in liquid latex – all in the name of art, of course. This is one unique college tradition that we certainly can’t include pictures of!
US colleges are steeped with traditions, and these are just a few of the zaniest ones we could find.
We’re always on the lookout for more, so help us add to the list! Does your US college have any wacky or unique traditions?