You’ve all probably heard some rendition of your college’s “bucket list” – otherwise known as the compilation of mostly gutsy tasks you have to check off before graduation day. Some schools’ lists are long, some are short, and some have specific times of the year when you need to complete each task, but almost all of them involve activities that could probably get you arrested.
Her Campus compared bucket lists from schools across the country to find the best of the bucket list. We found that most schools have three crazy activities in common: streaking, swimming, and sex.
If you don’t feel comfortable with being completely nude in public, a) you’re normal, but more importantly, b) you and your birthday suit better muster up some courage before graduation! Because based on some in-depth college bucket list research, one common thread has remained strong in linking universities together all over the country: the infamous streaking tradition.
This seems like a pretty straightforward idea, right? You take off your clothes, and then you run through the designated grassy area on your campus. At JMU it’s the quad, at Wellesley it’s the Severance Green, at Cornell it’s the Arts Quad, at UVA it’s the Lawn, at William and Mary it’s the Sunken Garden, at Harvard it’s the Yard…you get the idea. However, some of these traditions are a little more complicated than you think!
For example, at UVA, it isn’t just a simple strip-and-go. UVA alum Gavin Schmidt says, “You start at Homer, then run to the Rotunda, look through the key hole, and say, ‘Good night, Mr. Jefferson.’” Schmidt chose not to disclose whether or not he partook in this UVA tradition.
At some schools, there is even an actual designated time to complete the streaking tradition; used by some students as a form of stress relief. At Tufts University, the students run the Res Quad on the last Friday before their finals. “The Mifflin Streak” is what Penn State calls their bi-annual tradition, which they do the night before finals. Also the night before their finals begin, Harvard students participate in “Primal Scream” around Harvard Yard at midnight. If I had to study for a Harvard exam, I’d probably want to run around naked screaming, too!
Being a fast runner isn’t the only skill needed for streaking. At Dartmouth College, you better be a good swimmer, too. They have what they call the Ledyard Challenge, which consists of stripping down at the Ledyard Canoe Club on the New Hampshire shore, swimming across the Connecticut River all the way to the Vermont shore, and then streaking back to the starting point across the Ledyard Bridge. I guess that’s a good way to dry off after a refreshing dip.
Other swimming traditions can be found on various college bucket lists. Rachel Cieri, a Her Campus writer and senior at Elon University, says, “At some point you're supposed to swim in at least one of our three fountains.” The first item on JMU’s “JMU 5” bucket list is to swim in Newman Lake. At Purdue, swimming across the Engineering Mall Fountain is also a must before graduation. However, at NYU, the fountain tradition takes place on the actual day of graduation in Washington Square Park, which has a large fountain as its centerpiece. Students supposedly leap in as their degrees are called. I wonder if this is before of after they throw their caps in the air…
Hooking up in the stacks at JMU is something often joked about, but no one knows exactly how common it actually is. The JMU 5 suggests students hook up in the stacks of Carrier Library. Surprisingly enough, there are many other schools that also keep this tradition! For example, sex in the stacks is #1 on Cornell’s bucket list, which includes a whopping 161 activities! Check out this article written earlier this year by Cornell student Jasmine Marcus. A library is also the place to do the deed for other schools, too, like Harvard’s Widener library, but at Virginia Tech they have something they call the “Triple Crown”, which is to hook up in Lane Stadium, on the Drill Field, and in McBride 100 lecture hall. However, none of these are as ambitious, for lack of a better word, as the Dartmouth Seven.
To complete the Dartmouth Seven, you have to have sex in seven different locations around campus. These include the center of the Green, the Stacks, the BEMA (Big Empty Meeting Area), the President's lawn, the 50-yard line, the steps of Dartmouth Hall, and the top of the Hop (an art studio building that’s open late). Wow. Good luck, Dartmouth students!
Getting a piece of your campus.
If you’ve already completed the streaking, the swimming, and the getting down and dirty, you’ve got some other miscellaneous items to check off of your college bucket list! At Harvard, you have to pee on the John Harvard statue. At Elon, you must graduate with a brick from one of the walkways in your possession. At Purdue, sledding down Slayer Hill is a must.
A school’s geographical location also seems to have an effect on a bucket list. For example, at Penn State you’re supposed to climb Mt. Nittany, at SDSU you hike at Campanile, and at JMU going to Reddish Knob seems to be another task on students’ bucket lists. But if you’re not into the whole “outdoorsy” thing, just transfer to UVA so you can check off eating a Gus Burger from the White Spot.
If you need some inspiration, read Jenni Warne's weekly column in The Cornell Daily Sun, where she writes about trying to cross off one task a week from their list of 161 things to do! Here are some links to some extensive college bucket lists:
Regardless of what school you’re at, (or how likely you can see yourself running around in public naked), find out what your own college traditions are and consider trying to cross some of them off before your four years are up! Because you’ll be graduating before you know it, and thanks to Will Ferrell’s performance in Old School, we all know that it may not be as socially acceptable once you’re gone.
Stephanie Kaplan, Harvard Senior and CEO & Editor-in-Chief of Her Campus
Cara Spunk, Senior at Cornell and Her Campus writer
Rachel Cieri, Senior at Elon University and Her Campus writer
Gabriela Szewcow, Freshman at Elon University and Her Campus writer
Gavin Schmidt, UVA alum
Matthew Hardgrove, JMU alum