There are plenty of well-known college traditions that include alcoholic beverages or pulling pranks on students, faculty, and even the college campus itself. However, some schools have developed bizarre traditions that students may be surprised to learn about upon attending.
If you’re wondering what may happen when you attend one of your top-choice colleges or universities, here are just a few of the craziest college traditions out there.
- Tortilla Toss
Tossing objects off buildings or into public areas is not that uncommon where college traditions are concerned. Some colleges even have traditions like tossing students into fountains on campus. However, only at Baylor University in Texas do students toss tortillas as part of a superstitious ritual.
By this strange tradition, freshman head to the Waco bridge and toss tortillas, Frisbee style, over the side. The goal is to land them on concrete surface that protrudes from the water near the bridge. Students that are lucky or skilled enough to stick the landing, so to speak, can look forward to graduation within four years.
- Fish Toss
Another tossing tradition mirrors the NHL custom made famous by Detroit Red Wings fans, whereby octopi are propelled onto the ice when a home team player scores a hat trick. At the University of New Hampshire, however, it’s fish, not octopi, that are thrown onto the ice at hockey games.
The tradition sprang up in the ’70s, when students began throwing fish following the first goal scored by the UNH team, ostensibly as a way of saying that the opposing team had to fish the puck out of the net. Incredibly, the tradition has endured, despite the potential for penalties.
- Dragon Parade
Just because Cornell University is an Ivy League school doesn’t mean they’re lacking in wacky traditions. Every year the campus celebrates Dragon Day, whereby freshmen enrolled in the architecture program must design and build a large dragon.
The dragon is paraded around campus not only as a means of enlivening the student body, but also as a way to taunt students in the engineering program. In response, the engineering students have started building a phoenix to challenge the dragon.
- Finals Screaming
This tradition occurs on several college campuses at different times of year, but it generally coincides with either fall or spring exams (or both). During the days of study leading up to exams, students randomly stick their heads out of windows or run outdoors to scream at the top of their lungs.
This ear-splitting display is intended, no doubt, to release the stress associated with studying for end-of-term exams. However, some colleges also have screaming, shrieking, or howling traditions for other purposes, such as howling at the moon on Halloween night.
- Polar Bear Club
In northern climes that suffer from the onset of snow and ice during the winter months, it’s not uncommon for colleges to have unofficial polar bear clubs or polar bear swims. In this tradition, students gather at a frozen lake or river, cut a hole in the ice, and then jump in (attached to a rope). Other schools just have snowball fights.
- Nude Races
Not every school has nude races, but they seem to be one of the most popular crazy college traditions. Some have nude runs while others host nude bike rides. If you wish to avoid such lunacy, however, you may want to stick with a school like the University of Cincinnati, where the craziest tradition involves kissing Mick and Mack, the lions outside the library, for good luck.