Spotlight: Crazy College Traditions

College culture is steeped in age-old tradition, but can often be met with a healthy dose of, HUH?  From the funny to the down-right weird, it seems every student body has its own rites of passage and graduation requirements. Check out this first installment of strange but true college traditions:

  • 1. FSU's Sod Cemetery  Weirdly enough, Florida State University has a small cemetery, complete with headstones, for dead pieces of sod.  A tradition born in 1962, this curious cemetery began when a professor dared the Seminoles football team to bring back sod from Sanford Stadium's field after a game. Players quickly obliged, and the professor planted it at the FSU practice football field to celebrate the team's recent victory. This sod thievery continues to this day, though usually reserved for the University of Florida's field, home to their arch rival The University of Florida Gators. The greens-keeper at UF is surely not as amused.

Florida State Iniversity Sod Cemetary


  • 2. Homer Statue Slapping - UVA  University of Virginia has a tradition that includes a peculiar mistreatment of its statue of Homer. Essentially, students streak near the Rotunda steps, dart across the lawn, either kiss or slap Homer's butt, and then return to the Rotunda. That is IF they avoid arrest by campus police who have begun cracking down. (Pun intended)
  • 3. Sewanee: The University of the South's Guardian Angels  Some say that Sewanee - The University of the South's campus is home to a plethora of angels. Students take advantage of this brilliant stroke of luck by borrowing a guardian angel each time they leave campus. To do this, they simply tap the car roof when they exit through the campus gates, ensuring their safe travels. To return the guardian angel, they just tap the car roof as they return to release it back to its heavenly place in the Tennessee mountains. This is all and good, unless your main ride is a bicycle.
  • 4. Murray State University's Shoe Tree  Smack dab in the middle of Murray State University's campus stands a tree (well.. a tall stump that used to be a tree) adorned with over 50 pairs of shoes. Tradition states that college sweethearts who fall wildly in love and marry must pilgrimage back to the tree and nail two shoes to it, one from each person. Some shoes are marked with the betrothed's anniversary, and occasionally, couples return to the tree to post baby shoes after starting a family.  (Collective awww...)

Murray State University Shoe Tree


  • 5. Orgo Night - Columbia University  Each semester, in an effort to annoy and frustrate organic chemistry students, the Columbia Marching Band bursts into the library blaring the Alma mater to distract students from concentrating on their exams. Oh your going to fail your finals? Hurray!

Columbia University Argo night


  • 6. Cornell University - Dragon Day  On St. Patrick's Day, freshman architecture students at Cornell University design a large dragon structure that can be several stories tall, and parade it around the campus while dressed in outlandish costumes. Though the customary burning of the dragon has been outlawed, the tradition of engineering students verbally harassing and insulting the architecture students as they pass by is still very much a thing. Because if there's anyone that can come up with a witty insult, it's an engineering major.

Cornell University Dragon Day


  • 7. Carleton College's Primal Scream To relieve stress the night before final exams start, Carleton students stick their heads out of a window at 10pm... and scream. This ritual is also common place at Columbia University, Stanford University and a few others. Sadly, those blissfully unfamiliar with the tradition may require therapy to recover.

Carleton College scream tradition


  • 8. Serenade - Vassar College  Freshmen and Seniors enjoy the tradition of Serenading where freshmen sing insulting songs, and seniors throw condiments like ketchup filled water balloons and chocolate syrup. Seems fair to me.

Vassar College Serenade tradition


  • 9. Squirrel Club - University of Michigan  On any given Sunday afternoon at Michigan Anne Arbor, the chances of seeing dozens of students feeding squirrels peanuts is a pretty sure bet. But why you might ask? This feeding is a weekly event for the Squirrel Club - an officially sanctioned student organization whose sole purpose is to feed peanuts to squirrels. Not corn, or seeds, or even Squirrel Chow. Peanuts. It's in their charter.

University of Michigan Squierrel tradition


  • 10. Toast Toss - University of Pennsylvania  Students at University of Pennsylvania hurl pieces of toast immediately after the 3rd quarter of home football games. The university even has a specially designed tractor/toast-buster to ride around and clean up the errant toast. Fans sing “Drink a Highball,” which refers to an unofficial UPenn adult beverage, and at the end of the song, the students yell “Here’s a toast to dear old Penn,” and launch their crispy projectiles onto the field.

University of Pennsylvania toast toss tradition


Another college tradition, going on now for almost 30 years? Professional Framing Company who handcraft the finest custom college and university diploma frames in the world.  Learn more about their amazing team here.


    Mark Avery
    Mark Avery


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