5 Great College Traditions

August 10, 2022

Life On Campus

As the start of the 2022-2023 academic year approaches, students are gearing up to return to campus (and the football stands) to bring their favorite college traditions back to life.

In doing so, they’ll create student experiences unique to their university and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Let’s take a look at some of the best college traditions students all across the country are looking forward to this school year.

Madison Jump Around - University of Wisconsin

We’ll head to the Midwest to kick off our list of five of the best college traditions.

Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin is home to the infamous Madison Jump Around.

The tradition started in 1998 when the Badgers took on none other than Drew Brees and the Purdue Boilermakers. To inject a bit of energy into the crowd, they played House of Pain’s, Jump Around, throughout the stadium between the third and fourth quarters.

The student section loved it and it has been played at every home game since, with the exception of one.

Because of the excitement, yelling, and jumping the song ignites in the stands, the upper deck of Camp Randall has a tendency to sway. So when renovations were taking place in the upper deck of the stadium in 2003, officials opted not to play the song out of a safety concern. Fans were understandably unhappy with the decision and the university vowed to never skip Jump Around again.

Check out this video to see how the tradition has transformed over the last 20 years!


Little 500 - Indiana University

Another Midwest university tops the list of best college traditions with Little 500.

Inspired by the Indy 500, Indiana University’s Little 500 is the largest collegiate bike race in the country.

For one week out of the year, thousands of people travel to Bloomington, Indiana to compete in the race and participate in all of the festivities leading up to it like:

  • Giveaways
  • Concerts
  • Guest celebrity appearances

The races include four-person teams and are split up between men and women. Men will race for 200 laps around Bill Armstrong Stadium while the women race 100 laps around.

One of the best parts of this college tradition is that a portion of the proceeds goes to scholarship money for University of Indiana students!

college traditions

Army vs. Navy Football Game

One of the oldest and most powerful college traditions is the annual meeting of the Army and Navy on the gridiron. Since 1890 the two teams have been squaring off each year, but what makes this tradition special is the traditions within.

There are many pre, post, and in-game traditions that add to the experience. 

For example, the prisoner exchange is just before kick-off and is an exchange of seven cadets and seven midshipmen. As part of the Service Academy Exchange Program, the “prisoners” spend their fall semester at a different service academy and are returned to their home service academy at the game.

Another exciting tradition within the Army vs. Navy game is the drumline battle. Prior to the game, the respective drumlines showdown in a battle that highlights skills and showmanship.

Finally, the “honoring the fallen” tradition is a display of honor and respect for the opposing team. The winning team joins the losing team to sing their alma mater and afterward, the losing team joins the winners to sing theirs. This tradition reinforces the idea that, at the end of the day, everyone is on the same team.

College Tradition

Enter Sandman - Virginia Tech

Heading back to the student section, Virginia Tech offers one of the loudest college traditions.

As players run out of the tunnel before every Virginia Tech Hokies game, Metallica's “Enter Sandman” blares over a sea of over 65,000 college football fans.

When the fans join in at Lane Stadium in the heart of Blacksburg, Virginia, there are noticeably large spikes on the seismograph reading letting everyone around know that it’s game day.

College Tradition

It’s clear, Virginia Tech fans are in the running for the title of loudest entrance in college football.

Kinnick Wave - University of Iowa

New to the scene is the Kinnick Wave. This is one of the most heartwarming college traditions and it takes place at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa.

Since 2017, fans and players have been turning to the east side of the stadium at the end of the first quarter to wave over to the University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital. Patients and families wave back as people from both sides enjoy the moment of taking part in such a special tradition. 

Students everywhere love being a part of college traditions. Whether it be singing beloved songs or waving to children's hospitals, these traditions add to the student experience and keep alumni coming back for more.