Unique Traditions Enrich Academic Life

Earlier this week, the Chronicle of Higher Education published a story by Gwendolyn Freed that talks about the ‘special’ events that set universities apart from each other. She doesn’t mention research, rankings, faculty spotlights, or galas limited to a select few that don’t include students. Instead, she mentions the vigils at Virginia Tech and the twenty thousand candles that illuminated students who continue to come together to remember their own. She mentions seemingly ridiculous but memorable events like Carnegie Mellon’s Buggy event that involve students designing and racing nonmotorized go-carts. She mentions NC State’s Krispy Kreme Challenge that combines philathropy for the North Carolina Children’s hospital, running, and a love of donuts. Goofy, yes, but these kinds of goofy, geeky, and seemingly silly events unite the campus and instill a sense of togetherness.

So, what about Florida Tech? We’re beginning our football tradition this Fall with our first home game on September 7th. This tradition joins many other events and closely-cherished days that Florida Tech students associate with campus life. One of the most recognizable events to come up in the past five years has been the Humans versus Zombies live-action roleplay event, where students don bright orange bandannas as ‘humans’ and evade the potential ‘zombies’ that roam the campus for two weeks in October. Engineering students hold meetings to refit Nerf dart launchers to meet the game requirements, and it’s not uncommon to walk across our Quad on a Friday during HvZ week and see a few of the little foam cylinders. The faculty who participate as ‘patient zero’ delight in the unorthodox manner of interacting with their students, and word travels fast about professors who are willing to have fun in this geeky simulation of the zombie apocalypse.

Another cherished tradition on campus is simply known as “Buffalo Chicken Thursdays,” named because on Thursdays at the campus eateries, students can order the Buffalo Chicken wrap. Made with chicken tenders, lettuce, buffalo sauce, cheese, all rolled up in a flavored ‘orange’ (that’s jalepeno for the true BCW believer) wrap, this tradition earned a writeup in the Florida Tech Crimson as well as many memes on the Florida Tech facebook pages.

These kinds of traditions last because of the community that supports them. Are there other Florida Tech traditions that enrich our lives beyond academics? Note them in the comments!

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