January 15, 2012

Rutgers University Traditions: Volvo's Biggest Fan of the Big East Challenge #5

The Rutgers Coat of Arms

   Here we go -- Here we go -- Here we go -- Here we go -- Here we go -- Here we go -- Here we go
Volvo's Biggest Fan of the Big East Challenge #5 invites us to talk about the best traditions at our alma mater. For SURE that song just summed them all up!

Clearly, they want me to talk about how I traditionally went and partied at the Skull House and traditionally ate a Fat Sandwich on my stumble back to the dorms. Or, perhaps they want to know about my traditional April 20th parties, complete with personal goodie bags that were handed out to everyone who showed up? No...doubt it. I'm pretty sure they want PG traditions as they relate to Rutgers in general, as well as to sports.  Well, I can do that!

First of all, I wanted to commend Volvo on these awesome challenge topics. Having graduated eight years ago (ew!) it's really awesome to write about Rutgers and experience the nostalgia.  So...traditions.  What kinds of traditions does Rutgers University have? I can honestly tell you that you are about to LEARN something here about Rutgers and history - especially if you watch the videos.

Let's start with the OLDEST LIVING tradition - our alma mater song. And, what better way to showcase it with THEE "oldest living" tradition - get it?

Perhaps the most known is our school chant, sung with pride at every single athletic event. This tradition, as you can see, starts very early in a future Rutgers student's life...R-U, RAH RAH R-U RAH RAH WHOO RAA, WHOO RAA, RUTGERS RAH! UPSTREAM RED TEAM, RED TEAM UP-STREAM, RAH, RAH, RUTGERS RAH!!!!

Another big tradition is at Rutgers Commencement. This is where tradition mixes with superstition. Undergraduates break clay pipes over the Class of 1877 Cannon monument in front of Old Queens, symbolizing the breaking of ties with the college and leaving behind the good times of their graduate years (sigh.) Why the clay pipes? It's a symbolic gesture that dates back to when pipe-smoking was cool among undergrads and when smoking the pipe was an evening of fun times with your friends. Yes...apparently this is a "back in the day" tradition because undergrads no longer smoke pipes of any kind [insert sarcasm here.]
During commencement, graduating seniors walk in academic procession under the Class of 1902 Memorial Gateway on Hamilton Street leading into the Voorhees Mall. Tradition and superstition states that students who walk under the gate BEFORE graduating will NOT graduate in their four years.

As for sports, the "Ringing of the Bell" is an important tradition and is saved only for the most victorious of events. For example, when the Rutgers women's basketball team advanced to the NCAA finals during the 2006-2007 season.

During football games, the biggest tradition is the "Cannon Firing" which happens whenever Rutgers scores. The cannon goes back to the 1870s when there was the great cannon war between Rutgers and Princeton. Apparently, students from Princeton had stolen a cannon from Rutgers and Rutgers students took it back in 1875.

Another great tradition amongst fans is called the "Scarlet Walk" which takes place before a Rutgers home game. Players walk from the bus to the stadium and is a great way for the fans and players to interact!

Not all traditions are OLD, either!  Football Coach Gregg Schiano started one where before each game, a player will take an ax and drive it into a stump of wood. The act symbolizes his motto of "keep chopping."

The Grease Trucks which you probably already know about. The truck-based food vendors are conveniently located on the College Avenue Campus near Frat Row. They serve "Fat Sandwiches" with help fulfill another NATIONAL tradition, The Freshman 15.

The Dance Marathon is a student-run organization that consists of a year-long series of fundraisers and culminates with the annual Marathon on April 5-6 in the COllege Avenue Gym. Over 400 dancers pledge to raiser funds and remain standing for 32 hours without sleeping. The Dancers, along with over 500 volunteers and counless visitors, are entertained by live bands, comedians, prize giveaways, games, sports, a mechanical bull, and more! This tradition has been in place since 1999 and to date has raised over $1.3 million for the Embrace Kids Foundation.

RutgersFest is a day-long event which takes place outdoors on Livingston Campus. It's designed to promote college spirit through student organization participation with activities and entertainment throughout the day and free concert and fireworks at night. Musical guests have included Kanye, Everclear, Sugar Ray, Ludacris, Third Eye Blind and more.  SADLY, after several violent incidents that happened during the 2011 concert (um - gunshot wounds!) which resulted in President Richard McCormick ENDING this tradition.  So sad.

Throughout all of these traditions, the most important part of Rutgers are the students, alumni, family, friends, celebrities and little ones who keep them alive.  Rutgers University would not be what it is today without Rutgers FANatics:

Still, perhaps the biggest fan of all, is the one who combines their school pride with a VolvoS60. I am COMMITTED to changing my VolvoS60 to look exactly like the model in my previous post (picture below) so I will always remember the four years of my life that really changed me as a person - and the car company that reminded me of that through their competition.

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