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Whitman Traditions

There is no shortage of fun college traditions at Whitman.

The flag pole near Memorial Building has often had something odd hoisted up on it, mostly famously tires and bicycles. Other traditions include decorating and riding Styx, the bronze horse outside of Penrose Library.

freshmen_sophomore tug of war

Another former tradition is the freshmen/sophomore tug-of-war into Lakum Duckum, the beloved duck pond between Maxey Hall and Memorial Building. The tug-of-war was a rite of passage for the freshmen men, who were required to wear green beanies until they defeated the sophomores in a tug-of-war over Lakum Duckum, or until Homecoming weekend arrived. The end of the festivities included a bonfire fueled by the green hats.

Renaissance FaireThere’s also the Annual Renaissance Faire, a 40-plus-year tradition; the Mr. Whitman competition (now referred to as the Mx. Whitman competition to include all members of the Whitman community), the One-Act competition, and the Instant Play Festival. The Choral Contest, now reimagined as the A Cappella Showcase, has been held annually for more than 85 years, where every spring, student groups would form choirs competing for the Gena Branscombe and Howard E. Pratt trophies. There was a similar annual event in the ’60s called “Year in Revue,” where the Sorority and Fraternity groups would make a farcical show about the major events that happened on campus during the year. This was then replaced by Greek week, an annual celebration of Sorority and Fraternity life at Whitman.

And finally, pinging. If you stand between two pillars on the exterior of Cordiner Hall, cup your hand ever so slightly and slap it against the concrete, the most unusual “pinging” noise is created.


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