Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Like a Pro: UNH Traditions

What is written beneath is the first edition of Like a Pro, my column in TNH. Enjoy, to celebrate I just did same investigative journalism oh, yes, I hope you enjoy that analogy. 
Have you ever wondered what types of traditions truly exist at UNH? During my time as a student in Durham I have really felt that UNH lacks time-honored traditions that are prevalent at hundreds of universities and colleges across the country. UNH doesn’t have huge bonfires at homecoming, we don’t have a naked mile, and we don’t have a cold-water swim or anything of that nature. I did some investigative journalism on the matter and by simply google searching “UNH traditions” I found exactly what I was looking for on the UNH admissions website.
 It says, “The University of New Hampshire has a rich history of time honored traditions dating all the way back to its founding in 1866.  From University Day to Homecoming, hockey games to undergraduate research, these traditions are a part of what makes UNH a unique, fun and exciting place to learn.” The site also specifically lists the fish toss after the first goal of a hockey game and family weekend as UNH traditions. Um, what? If you ask me the only true tradition listed is the hockey fish tossing, but that is extremely common among hockey teams. Another “tradition” is the “White Out the Whitt” hockey game against Maine, but most college crowds do that for every home game. Both the fish and whiteout game are awesome, but I don’t think hockey games have been the same since they got rid of “Black Betty.”
 I mean does the university truly think that undergraduate research is a tradition that makes “UNH a unique, fun and exciting place to learn?” The funny thing is that the admissions page was missing a few key traditions that no one on campus can deny, like being arrested for underage drinking. It has become so commonplace that you would think UNH is the filming location of Campus PD, which is my new favorite show. Watching it makes me feel better about myself. Other unwritten traditions include the hockey team having great season and then losing in the NCAA tournament and fans calling for Coach Umile to be fired.  Also, don’t forget how after the first snow, students always complain about how UNH never cancels classes.
 In all seriousness, traditions can help build the UNH community; there is even a student organization, CommUNHiversity, dedicated to “enhance the sense of community and school spirit on the UNH.”When they wanted to burn a wooden bear before the Maine hockey game, something that students were very excited for, the administration shut it down. Rumors have gone around saying burn-a-bear is supposed to happen at next year’s homecoming though, and hopefully that will evolve into an annual event. I feel the administration cares too much about our “prestige” or “appearance” to allow certain traditions to exist. Even Ivy League schools such as Dartmouth have huge bonfires. With proper planning and rules, safety should not be an issue surrounding bonfires at homecoming and other events.
I think that it is time for the students of UNH to grow together and start some traditions of our own. A lot of schools have annual events that take place during finals week in order to relieve students of the stress. Students have tried things like last year’s flash rave or a synchronized scream, but I think something bigger is a necessity. Many schools annually have a campus wide snowball fight the night of a big snowstorm. Another common college tradition is a coldwater dive or swim. A lot of events like these can also serve as awareness or fundraisers.
 I think that the ultimate UNH tradition would be some sort of race around the Durham 500. For those of you who don’t know, the Durham 500 is the one-way oval shaped stretch of Main Street, Madbury and Pettee Brook Road that passes through and around downtown. Think of it as a NASCAR track, with Store 24 in the infield. It wouldn’t have to be a race, it could simply be a jog, walk, or bike ride, or all of the above. Of course to make it better we would need to incorporate some sort of dress code. While a naked mile would probably be met with a harsh reaction from the administration and the Durham and UNH police departments, funny costumes, underwear or body paint could do the trick.
UNH is closing in on its 150th anniversary and I think it is time that we start some traditions for the next 150 years. Whether it is something started by CommUNHiversity, another student organization or just a few bored students, history can be made. I just hope it can be something new and original, I mean there is only one Durham 500 and I think that could be a great place to start. 
 Stay classy, not UMassy

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