Elon University celebrates a number of student traditions. Traditions like the “Under the Oaks” ceremony and College Coffee are widely known and can be overheard on campus tours and read about on the university website. Other traditions, such as Festivus, the stealing of bricks, taking a dip in the fountains, and dressing in Sunday best for football games are less conventional . Nevertheless, each of these traditions play a large role in distinguishing Elon from other universities. They also help to connect generations of alumni, as many these traditions have been carried on for decades.
President Lambert's Holiday Dinner
Every year right before first semester finals President Leo M. Lambert invites all Elon students to Maynard House for a hors d'oeuvres and desserts. Once at the dinner you can talk with other students and faculty as you eat delicious hors d'oeuvres and desserts and sip on hot cocoa or hot cider. After enjoying the wonderful treats you can take a festive picture with our superstar president! This picture is then sent home to your parents in a nice holiday card. This tradition is optional, but extremely popular. There is always at least a 45 minute wait to take your picture with our most endeared president. When you're so close to the holidays and going home to see family this is a wonderful homey touch that our president provides for us. Junior, Kelsey Liddle, says, "It's a tradition you won't want to miss out on!".
"Under the Oaks"
The “Under the Oaks” tradition incorporates both the convocation and graduation ceremonies. The convocation ceremony formally begins new student’s academic career at Elon. At convocation, students are joined by family, faculty, and friends as they are welcomed to campus and come together as a class for the first time. During the ceremony, the students are given an acorn as a symbol of the promise of Elon’s education (Elon means oak in Hebrew). Four years later, the same group of students assemble as a group under the oaks again for their graduation ceremony. During this ceremony, each alumnus receives an oak sapling to represent their individual growth throughout their time spent at Elon. “I like the idea of having New Student Convocation in August under the Oaks and making a date with the class to be there again four years later”, President Leo Lambert said during an interview with Pendulum writer Dan Quackenbush, “Oaks provide the perfect canopy, the setting is historic, and the meaning of the oak is important to all of us at Elon”.
College Coffee is one of Elon’s oldest and most notable traditions. It takes place every Tuesday from 9:40 am to 10:20 am on the Phi Beta Kappa Commons. College Coffee brings students and teachers together in a relaxed and easy-going environment and encourages students to mingle with friends, professors, and to meet new people as well.
Festivus gets its name from the quote “Festivus for the rest of us” and takes place on the university’s campus in the spring. During Festivus, Elon students run into a massive pile of mud with friends and engage in one large mud fight. Although details on Festivus cannot be found on the Elon website, or spoken about during tours, it is still widely known amongst many of the students on campus. “It’s definitely something you need to experience for yourself”, quoted a sophomore at the university, “I’ve never taken part in anything like it”.
Stealing Bricks on Campus
The stealing of a brick located somewhere on Elon’s campus is a challenge that many students try to successfully complete sometime during their Elon career. After locating a loose brick in one of Elon's paths, students try to steal the brick without being seen by administration or campus security (as it is against school policies). The stolen bricks are usually replaced by workers hired specifically to replace missing bricks within hours of them being stolen.
Wading into Fountains
Taking a dip in all three of the fountains on Elon University’s campus without being caught is another task that students try to accomplish before graduation. Cameras hidden across campus make this tradition a challenge to participate in, however, and getting caught in any of the fountains by campus security can result in costly fines.
Dressing in Sunday best for Elon football games is another tradition that many students enjoy participating in. Many male students will attend the games in dress pants and collared shirts while girls wear day dresses. “It turns the games into a big event”, exclaimed student Jenna Mason, “I love it”.
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Jenna Mason, Elon University Student (interview)
Kelsey Liddle, Elon University Student (interview)