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September 07, 2011

Student Traditions - Freshman Beanies

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Mather freshman receiving her beanie, 1962; 1940s Adelbert freshmen, in beanies, pulling a wagon-full of upper classmen

A nearly universal event on college campuses, orientation introduces new students to the university. Tours of campus help identify the location of classes, food, and other essentials of student life. Presentations describe university rules and services. Orientation also exposes new students to some of the university’s traditions.

A university that is 185 years old has had plenty of time to develop traditions. Some last; some don’t. One tradition that has gone out of fashion is the freshman cap or beanie. At Case and Western Reserve University during orientation freshmen were presented with their caps. At the WRU men’s college, Adelbert College, freshmen were required to wear their caps at all times while on campus. The sophomore class was charged with enforcing this rule. In the spring the freshmen were formally relieved of their caps and other freshmen burdens at Campus Day.

One of the best archival sources of information about, and pictures of, student traditions are student yearbooks. A sample of the University Archives yearbook collection has been digitized and can be seen in the University Archives Student Yearbook collection in Digital Case.

Posted by jmt3 at September 7, 2011 03:20 PM

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