With one of the University’s favorite traditions upon us — the football game against Virginia Tech — here is a list of other unique traditions and aspects of life at the University. Virginia Tech could only dream of being a part of these University traditions.
1. Singing the “Good Ol’ Song” at Scott Stadium
What better way to celebrate what it means to be a Hoo than to sing the “Good Ol’ Song” after a touchdown at Scott Stadium? Swaying in unison with those around you and singing the words of the “Good Ol’ Song” builds an instant connection with those around you — even if you have never met them.
2. Streaking the Lawn after dark — if you dare
Streaking the Lawn is a time-honored tradition at the University. Where else can you run naked through a UNESCO World Heritage site? Streaking the Lawn, however, is not for the weak. Starting from the Rotunda steps and running all the way to the Homer statue and back to the Rotunda in what may seem like a silly tradition is actually quite an athletic endeavor. Most importantly, don’t forget to look through the keyhole of the Rotunda at the end of your run and say “goodnight” to Mr. Jefferson.
3. Taking a historical tour of Grounds
Understanding the history of the University is an essential aspect of being able to engage with the University in an informed and respectful way. The University Guides offers daily historical tours at 11 a.m. These tours detail the construction of the Academical Village and the role enslaved laborers occupied in both the construction and maintenance of the University — seen especially through the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers. I have been on two historical tours of the University, and each time I was surprised by how much I did not previously know about the construction.
4. Celebrating the end of fall semester classes with Lighting of the Lawn
Nothing captures the joy of ending the fall semester quite like Lighting of the Lawn. Seeing the Rotunda lit up with holiday lights brings a needed sense of festivity and happiness to the final stretch of the semester—finals season. This year’s Lighting of the Lawn is set for Dec. 1 at 7 p.m. with an array of performances that students and community members alike will not want to miss. I personally love the light show at the end of the night.
5. Discovering your go-to Bodo’s order
Nearly every student at the University has a favorite Bodo’s order. Discovering your favorite order is certainly a rite of passage as a student. I especially love a sesame seed bagel with avocado and tomato or a sesame seed bagel with veggie cream cheese — although you really cannot go wrong with anything from Bodo’s.
6. Signing the scroll of the honor code at opening convocation
The University’s honor code is a core part of the experience as a student. Signing your name on the honor scroll at opening convocation officially shows your commitment to upholding the values of the honor code — inserting yourself into a long history and tradition of being an integral member of the community of trust. I vividly remember signing the scroll with my first-year hallmates during our first few days at the University.
7. Having a day made by Ms. Kathy at Newcomb
Ms. Kathy is not only an icon of the Newcomb Dining Hall — she is an icon throughout the entire University. Her beautiful smile and kind words to each student that enters the dining hall have a profound impact on students. I know that seeing Ms. Kathy especially during my first-year at the University meant a lot to me. She makes everyone feel seen and valued, which is invaluable when having a stressful day.
8. Casually walking by the room of Edgar Allan Poe on the way to class
One of the most fascinating parts about attending the University is being fully immersed in history while participating in mundane activities like walking to class. Walk down McCormick Road and you will pass room number 13 on the West Range — take a look inside and think about how thrilling it is to be attending the same University that poet Edgar Allan Poe once attended as well. The other morning I was trudging down McCormick to my 8 a.m. class and was suddenly struck by how cool it is to walk by pieces of history — even if I wished I was still in bed.
9. Participating in a Run with Jim
Take a morning run with the University President Jim Ryan. A Run with Jim typically starts around 7:30 a.m. at the steps of Madison Hall and concludes with bagels from Bodo’s. While I have not participated in a Run with Jim, it is certainly a highlight and treasured tradition for many. Lace up your running shoes and go enjoy a morning run alongside Jim with Bodo’s bagels — it is hard to imagine a better combination.
10. Walking the Lawn at graduation with a balloon in tow
Graduating from the University is a time of celebration and joy with friends and family — and something that I look forward to as a current third-year student. Adding to the fun is the unique tradition of carrying a balloon while you walk down the Lawn at graduation. A colorful array of balloons are seen all across the Lawn, and the balloons are donated at the end of the day to the U.Va. Children’s Hospital.