So, traditions on college campuses can range from Homecoming Weekend, to Athletic Alumni Weekend, May Days, anything that has lasted for a long time on campus and that brings the student body together. Also, these traditions usually incorporate alumni somehow - whether they be on campus during it or whether they took part during their undergraduate career. Mainly though, traditions help bring a lot of pride to the university's campus and among the student, faculty, and administrators!
Why are they important, you ask?? They are important because they will provide you with amazing memories of your time on campus and they will help you feel even more connected to your university. These events get you excited to be going to school there and to be surrounded by your fellow students. They help increase morale and give you amazing experiences to be part of and impact. They also help you immensely with gaining friends and meeting new people. My friend Sarah talks about it here, but also at my Orientation experience (which is in itself a tradition at each university), we gained so many friends and were able to meet many new people just by taking part in the Orientation program and the activities they promoted.
You will most likely not learn about these traditions until you go and take a tour of campus by a student of that university. They usually share when these events take place and why they make that university special. Oftentimes, you may learn that your tour guide chose that university specifically because of the traditions and the on-campus events that connect them to the university as a whole. Definitely don't hesitate to ask the tour guide what their favorite tradition on campus is. DISCLAIMER - If they answer this question with, "My roommates and I always go to Denny's for breakfast the Saturday after Finals," or something like that, that is not a college tradition. That is a personal tradition that is not guaranteed to you when you attend that university. The traditions I'm talking about are college-sanctioned and advertised events that typically all or most students take part in large numbers.
What do these traditions look like? Well, what's unique about each university is unique about each university's traditions. My alma mater had so many traditions that varied throughout the year, but my favorite was the Candlelight Ceremony. During Freshmen Orientation and the night before Commencement our Senior year, we process around the small pond on the campus carrying candles. It sounds kind of silly, but it is something that is very sentimental and the fact that we did it on one of our first nights on campus and on our last night on campus was a great way to round out our four years on campus. Some other universities may have a highly anticipated Homecoming Weekend where alumni come back to campus, there is usually a high-profile football or soccer game against a rival team, with lots of people around and just fun being had by everyone! Some other universities have traditions for individual class years to celebrate where they are in their journey on campus and what the future holds for them, like a black-tie dance for family and friends. It also might be as simple, yet amazing, as a Midnight Breakfast the morning before Finals Week begins.
The great thing about these traditions is that they are usually sentimental and carry a lot of value with administrators and alumni of the university. When you start networking across campus and meeting alumni, discussing their favorite campus tradition is a sure-fire way to gain a connection with them ... especially if theirs and yours are the same tradition! Traditions will help make your four years as an undergraduate student the most amazing four years of your life, so as you are looking at universities and making your final decision on which to enroll at, don't count campus traditions as being unimportant!
enjoy the chase,
P.S. Next week I plan on doing a Commuter Series for the blog. If you have questions or things you want to know about being a commuter, comment below, e-mail me, or tweet me and I'll be sure to give it a shoutout!