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Top 11 Craziest College Traditions

College is a time for exploration, fun, and making memories. These 11 college traditions have made good and bad memories for many young students. Feel free to add any other crazy college traditions to this list!

#1 Murray State University: The Shoe Tree

Although no one knows how the tradition began, Murray State proudly showcases a tree in the middle of campus with at least fifty pairs of mismatched shoes nailed to it.  This ongoing tradition adds to the university’s unique history and prides itself with an intriguing backstory.  The story goes that if two students meet at Murray State, fall in love and get married, they’ll have good luck if each partner nails a shoe to the tree.  Growing each year, couples return to write their anniversary of their shoes, and even nail baby shoes to the tree when they start a family.

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#2 Tufts University: The Naked Quad Run

The picture cannot be of the event or it would be very bad for obvious reasons. Taking place every year before fall final in early December, hundreds of students would gather in the basement of a dorm, “warm up” with alcohol, and undress as a group for their annual naked run.  While the tradition lasted for several decades, the president of the school cancelled it for the safety and health of the student, and taking into consideration that it’s technically illegal.  After it was cancelled, students changed the tradition to an “Excessively Overdressed Quad Stroll” instead.

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#3 Penn State: THON

Every year since 1973, Penn State students attempt to dance for 46 straight hours during their Panhellenic/IFC sponsored THON event. The charity event is the largest philanthropic event organized by students in the world. Over the years, millions of dollars have been raised for cancer research.

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#4 Rice University: Beer Bike

Located in Houston, Texas, Rice University hosts a relay race each spring semester involving both chugging beer and bicycle racing, although the rules clearly state the two tasks are completely separated.  It doesn’t seem like a university would host any event containing the word “beer”, however this event is designed to help students hone their chugging chops.

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#5 Harvard: Primal Scream

Although the Primal Scream or campus streaking isn’t at all unique to Harvard, they are the first university to combine the two acts.  On the eve of the first final exam at midnight, Harvard students strip down and take a lap around the quad.

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#6 Barnard College: Big Sub

Out of all college traditions, this one is perfect for every average, starving college student.  The students at Barnard College certainly won’t be hungry when the Big Sub arrives.  Every October, students of this private women’s liberal arts college gather around a 700-foot sub and participate in a massive feast.  

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#7 University of Southern Indiana: Springfest

Every spring at USI, the grass steps in front of Rice Library are painted vivid colors and free t-shirts are handed out during Spring Fest. USI celebrates the coming of warm weather with a bang. The atmosphere during this week helps to motivate students finish out the semester strong.

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#8 Brandeis University: Liquid Latex

When Liquid Latex night rolls around every year, the Brandeis University Theater Program produces a production in which the actors are only “clothed” in paint. The scandalous event has even been recognized by Playboy in the past.

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#9 Yale University: Bladder Ball

Every year before the kickoff of the annual Yale v. Dartmouth football game, a massive leather ball stretching six feet in diameter is released into a crowd of Yale students. The “Bladderball” has injured many over the years.

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#10 University of Maryland: Testudo Offerings

There is a turtle under all that fire. Beginning in 1933, Terps have worshiped a statue of their mascot Testudo. The bronze terrapin is a good luck charm for those which show him respect.

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#11 University of Virginia

The Cavaliers of the University of Virginia frequently kiss the rump of a Homer statue for good luck. Clearly, the students attending UVA are a bunch of brown nosers.

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