The Craziest College Traditions

The Craziest College Traditions

By Lindsay San Giacomo

We here at SparkLife did a little digging to find out what quirky traditions your favorite colleges aren't talking about on the campus tours:

Northwestern University has the Primal Scream. Three times a year, at 9 pm on the Sunday before finals (they're on quarters), students are invited to SCREAM as loud as they can to shake off the stress of studying.

Harvard also does a Primal Scream, except... their version involves you shaking off all your clothes and running around the quad. Keep the glasses on though—you won't wanna miss this.

Tufts also used to do a naked Quad Run right before finals, but school officials cracked down on it a couple of years ago so now they do the "Excessively Overdressed Quad Stroll." We'll see if it takes off. (Pun intended.)

Speaking of overdressed, the ladies at Wellesley College participate in a Hoop Rolling Race every year dressed in their graduation gowns. What's Hoop Rolling, you ask? Ever see a commercial for Colonial Williamsburg and there are all those kids chasing wooden hoops down the street with sticks? Yup.

Dartmouth's Ledyard Challenge might float your boat. Every year, students swim across the Connecticut River to Vermont, climb up the banks and then streak across Ledyard Bridge back to New Hampshire. (Note: Many college traditions involve taking off your clothes. We here at Sparklife suggest keeping that little tidbit to yourself until the tuition check clears.)

At Occidental College, students celebrate their classmates' birthdays by grabbing them and tossing them into the Lucille Gillman Memorial Fountain. The goal is to get the birthday boy or girl by surprise, so kids have even been pulled out of classrooms and dorms to get dunked. Good thing this school is in L.A., or else this tradition could go from hilarious to horrific for us winter babies.

Like your traditions a little darker? Georgetown might be right for you. Fun (or not, depending on your fear factor) fact: parts of the movie "The Exorcist" were filmed on campus. Each Halloween, the school shows the movie and then the students head out to a cemetary near Healy Hall at midnight for the "Healy Howl" in which they literally howl at the moon. Creepy. And kinda awesome.

University of Connecticut has an Oozeball tournament. Teams of 6—3 boys, 3 girls—play volleyball in 8 inches of mud made fresh that day. It's dirty college fun you don't have to hide from your parents.

Or you can play "BladderBall" at Yale where students from all the different colleges compete for control of a giant beach ball. They play on the day of the Yale-Dartmouth football game and the event has been known to tie up New Haven traffic for hours.

Yale's also home to a foot fetish of sorts. Yale tour guides tell wannabe students that touching the foot of former president Jame Dwight Wollsey's statue will bring them luck. What they don't mention is that, once you're in, peeing on the foot is considered an unofficial requirement to graduate. So don't touch the foot (and, now that we're thinking about it, this makes BladderBall sound way grosser.)

Barnard College has Big Sub every year where they build, you guessed it, a giant sub sandwich. The sandwich grows one foot every year, and it's now over a mile long!

Reed College has the Seventh Annual Nitrogen Day, an homage to the seventh element on the periodic table. The event features food, music, and haikus. It's a gas! (Sorry, had to go there.)

MIT is known for its "hacks" where students pull amazing practical jokes around campus (one year they put a very good replica of a campus police car on the roof of the great dome) but it also has an Origami Club (named OrigaMIT—get it?) where they do unbelievable paper-folding sculptures for their annual gallery exhibit. In 2010, they did a life-sized triceratops. That's 17 feet of folded paper!

Where do you want to go to college?

Topics: college, traditions, lists, colleges

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