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10 Best College Traditions

November 02, 2020

Many higher education institutions have time-honored college traditions that to outsiders can seem odd. For instance, rubbing Howard’s Rock at Clemson University prior to each home football game.

Check out some of the best college traditions we’ve come across from schools around the country. There’s no shortage of weird and amazing college traditions, from gameday rituals to bizarre competitions — these events showcase the creativity and passion of college students.


1. The Great Midwest Trivia Contest

As if exams and homework aren’t enough, every year during the last weekend in January, students at Lawrence University compete in The Great Midwest Trivia Contest. This occurs for 50 hours straight, from Friday to Sunday. The contest currently holds the record as the “world’s longest-running trivia contest.” It gets this honor, not because it runs for 50 hours straight, but because each year’s contest starts with a question from the prior year’s contest. Thus, this trivia contest seemingly never ends!

2. Willie the Wildcat’s hidden identity

Some of the best college football traditions feature a bit of intrigue. Such is the case with the decades-old tradition at Kansas State involving the team mascot, Willie the Wildcat. Since 1947, each year a student has been secretly elected to wear the school’s Willie the Wildcat mascot costume without revealing his or her identity. The student attends games and other school events while keeping their identity a secret from other students, then passes the costume onto the next student chosen to be the mascot.

3. The Tunnel Walk

Created in 1994 at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to share the excitement of the football team leaving the locker room, The Tunnel Walk features the Huskers football team running through a tunnel on their way to the field. Over 90,000 fans line a red carpet as the team members run past to the sound of the Alan Parsons Project's song "Sirius." Fans also touch a lucky horseshoe that hangs above a door as they get ready to line the red carpet and cheer on their team.

4. The Krispy Kreme Challenge

When it comes to eating donuts, it doesn’t seem like a challenge at all, unless you have to run afterward as part of your college tradition. Started in 2004 at North Carolina State University, The Krispy Kreme Challenge occurs every February. Participants have one hour to run 2.5 miles to a Krispy Kreme shop, eat a dozen doughnuts, then run back to the university. The challenge began as a dare, but today raises funds for North Carolina Children's Hospital. The mantra for students going on this adventure is “2400 calories, 12 doughnuts, 5 miles, 1 hour.”

5. Scavenger Hunt

Held each year for four days in May and ending on Mother's Day, the famous University of Chicago Scavenger Hunt began in 1987 and is known as the best scavenger hunt in the world. The chaotic scavenger hunt changes every year, but typically includes a list of items to find and events to partake in including the Scav Olympics, a blood drive, and a road trip. The event is currently on the Guinness World Record list as the largest scavenger hunt.

6. Rub Howard's Rock

At Clemson University in South Carolina, they have a tradition that dates back to the 1960s. Then head Football coach Frank Howard was given a large piece of white flint rock found by a friend in Death Valley, California. Though he originally used it as a doorstop, it was eventually mounted on campus at the top of the hill that leads down to the field. Since 1966, football players have stopped at Howard’s Rock at the start of each home game to rub it for good luck.

7. Healy Howl

When it comes to weird college traditions, the Healy Howl at Georgetown University is at the top of the list. Back in 1973, when the movie The Exorcist was produced, parts were filmed on campus. Students were so excited that they started a tradition of screening the movie every Halloween on campus and ending the film just before midnight. Afterwards, students head to the campus cemetery and howl at the moon at the stroke of midnight.

8. Birthday Dunk

At Occidental College in Los Angeles, students meet birthdays with a bit of trepidation. Classmates come and get you on your birthday, dragging you to the school’s fountain. There you are unceremoniously dumped into the water. When you’ll be thrown into the fountain is a mystery. Students have been known to be pulled out of bed and even class.

9. THON Weekend

Some college traditions are fun and help the less fortunate. Such is the case at Pennsylvania State University. Every February since 1973, students hold a no-sitting or sleeping 46-hour dance marathon on campus. Proceeds from the philanthropic danceathon go to fight pediatric cancer.

10. The Pull

If you like tug of war, The Pull at Hope College is considered one of the best. This college tradition is held every September and dates all the way back to 1898. Teams consisting of freshman and sophomores face-off and engage in a three-hour tug-of-war. The teams are tethered together by a rope. There are 18 pullers and another 18 participants who give moral support and directions.


Showcase your school pride at your next college tradition event

Every college tradition starts and lives on through passionate students who have pride for their school. No matter what your tradition is, represent your school like a true fan with a Denali College Blanket. Wrap yourself in school colors to showcase your spirit at your next event.

Our blankets are incredibly durable to survive even the craziest of events, and are amazingly soft for you to use as a throw blanket on a day-to-day basis. Shop our college blankets or see other styles to find a blanket perfect for your dorm room, apartment, or home!

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