The Carrier’s editorial opinion represents the views of the senior members of the Campus Carrier and Viking Fusion news staff.
The UGA arch, the UNC Chapel Hill pavillion photos, a rub for goodluck on a mascot statue before your last ever set of finals — senior traditions are rites of passage. They help benchmark times in life, they create fond memories, they foster community and can act as a form of closure for those saying goodbye. For a school that is heavily rooted in tradition for both incoming students and alumni, it seems lacking in a tradition for sending students off into the world. What better way to have closure than by having a graduation tradition?
At what point do events or ideas become a tradition? Were the first participants in The Grand March aggravated that they had to march up and down a hill in the hot sun? How long did it take for Mountain Day Weekend to become the huge event it is? Have Berry students always so fully embraced community service?
It can be hard to start a tradition organically, so many must go through a process before they’re considered a tradition. But it is better to try and create traditions now so that future generations can experience them. It’s a beautiful thought that Berry students 50 years ago walked the Grand March on the same hill, just as we do every year. Traditions connect every student that participates to those that came before and is a bonding experience that unites Berry students from the past, present and future.
Mountain Day is a tradition that Berry has held for over a hundred years. Every student who has passed through the Gate of Opportunity is aware of Martha’s birthday weekend and all of the activities that accompany it, more recently including the Mountain Day Olympics and Marthapalooza. It’s the busiest weekend of the year at Berry, and many alumni travel back to Berry to reunite with their graduating classes during this time to partake in the Mountain Day festivities.
Berry is well-known for many other traditions during the fall also, including first-year service day and KCAB’s Vegas Weekend. At the beginning of the spring, many students participate in the Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service and get out in the community to complete projects for the betterment of many of the communities’ nonprofits.
Over the summer, alumni are invited back to Berry for the annual Berry Alumni Workday, in which they assist the college in projects, often on the grounds. Many former students return to Berry in the years post graduation to participate in other traditions as well.
As graduation approaches, most seniors are trying to find a way to celebrate the culmination of their four years here with their own traditions. There is no equivalent to marching up and down a hill in corresponding colors near graduation (rain withstanding), nor the formation of the Berry “B” with candles like the current senior class did freshman year. Past graduating classes strove to begin traditions specifically for seniors to celebrate their last days at Berry, but none have taken off.
We love Berry’s traditions – they are what make Berry so unique. We hope that the traditions we have will continue, and that we can work together to create ways for graduating students to have an easier time saying “goodbye.”