The weirdest college traditions in the United States


College culture is often built around age-old traditions. These traditions bring the student body together in an activity that helps build their identity as part of the college and create a sense of belonging. Over the years, various colleges across the United States have established traditions that define them. While some of these traditions define a institution and set it apart from the rest, others are just plain bizarre and weird.

They might not make a lot of sense to outsiders, but to the students these are important rites that one cannot afford to miss. Some border on lunatic, but let’s not forget it’s all in the name of fun and having the ultimate college experience. Here’s a list of five traditions from colleges across the country that are super weird.

The Primal Scream, Harvard University

Yes, even top-ranking universities feature on this list. Undergraduate students at Harvard take part in the annual primal scream run on on the eve of finals. What makes it weird is that it occurs in the middle of the night, and students show up with nothing but their sneakers on. For them, this is the perfect way to get rid of the pent up emotions that come with the approach of finals. The result is a nude, late night run full of shrieking students through the Harvard yard.

Sod Cemetery, Florida State University

Instead of bodies, this cemetery holds pieces of sod. Since the year 1962, the football team of Florida State University has been stealing pieces of turf from their rivals. This tradition started when a professor dared the team to come back from Sanford Stadium with sod. The captain, Gene McDowell, did just that. The professor buried the piece of sod in the field where the team practices to mark their latest win. Sod stealing – and burial – became a tradition. Each piece of sod is buried in its own spot in the sod cemetery, complete with a headstone to commemorate the victory.

Shoe Tree, Murray State University

Outside the library at Murray State University is a large tree covered in mismatched pairs of shoes. Here, the tradition involves couples who met at the university each nailing a shoe to the tree. The shoes have indications of the couples’ anniversary. The tale around campus is that whoever participates in this tradition will have a happy marriage.

Senior Serenading, Vassar College

Seniors at Vassar College establish their newly gained power by walking from one dorm to another, where freshmen sing songs to them. While the freshmen sing, the seniors throw food condiments at them, initiating a campus-wide food fight. It sure is a weird way to assume power.

Orgo Night, Columbia University

A biannual tradition, the Orgo Night takes place on the night before students taking organic chemistry sit for their exam. This exam is a challenging aspect of campus life for these students, and the Columbia marching band makes it their responsibility to ‘ease’ the anxiety ridden students into the finals.

They start by marching into the library at night, when hundreds of organic chemistry students are trying to put in last minute hours. The band entertains them with music, songs, and jokes for half an hour. Afterwards, they move to the Am Quad to entertain residents in nearby dorms. They play in various other locations in campus, in the name of helping the students blow off steam and exam anxiety.