University is one of the most unique places to find crazy traditions. Frosh across the country witness these intense rituals varied with local flavour and take part in them. Why do so many universities have these strange rituals and rites of passage?
It was the closest thing I have ever seen to public humiliation. Being the cautious yet curious type, I watched the festivities of my frosh week unfold from the library window high above the courtyard below. It was “E Plant Day”, the annual kidnapping of a student executive of the Agricultural Student Society by the College of Engineers. These two rival colleges were both fighting for their pride and measuring the internal resolve of their members.
First the student executive is kidnapped, taken to a disclosed location, and then stripped down to his undies. His hands and feet are then taped to a huge red metal framed E that is planted into a hole on a grassy knoll. Then, 500 red-painted engineers encircle him, lock arms and chant their engineering mantras. Their job: prevent the Aggies from getting to their teammate.
The Aggies goal: get their shamed comrade off that E. They used any means that were not toxic or dangerous. Water balloons were hurled through the air from surrounding buildings, whip cream was sprayed without discretion and water guns were sprayed into the red sea. Aggies in blue pressed into the wall of engineers. Some jumped and started crawling over the engineers like a mosh pit at a concert. It was utter chaos. And then pants started flying. Despite duct tape belts designed to prevent pant loss, guys would tackle their mortal enemies and take their pants off. They would fling them high into the overarching trees. Yes, jeans were hanging from the trees on my campus. It was the signature symbol that E Plant was on. I hope for their sake they had another pair of back up pants in their locker on campus.
It seems most universities have interesting traditions and rituals; an initiation like no other. There are also the smaller scale traditions that go on in the frats, sororities and colleges.
The start of our university career is one of new introductions to old time traditions.
What rituals does your college have?
Why do we perpetuate these traditions?