The Wacky and Wonderful World of UNC Traditions

So you’re probably unaware of this (we can’t all be Mary Poppins bags of UNC trivia), but UNC Chapel Hill, founded in 1789, is the country’s oldest public university. This isn’t saying much for us Glasgow Uni students obviously, (565 years and still going strong ayyyyy), but is a big deal for a country that’s probably an angsty tween in human years.  Anyway, the combination of school spirit and plenty of time to express it in new and interesting ways has resulted in an excess of peculiar traditions. I figured I should inform you of  a few so you can show off your knowledge when you arrive, or you know, feign ignorance so you don’t seem like a know-it-all.

  1. Drink from the Old Well on FDOC: Alright so let me translate this gibberish. FDOC stands for ‘First Day of Class’ (you’ll notice a bit of a preoccupation with acronyms on this list, it’s weird I know). I know when you think of a well you probably think of The Ring, and Samara crawling out, bones cracking and all (actually maybe that’s just me). But don’t worry, you don’t have to risk your life, the Old Well isn’t that kind of well, it’s a (defo didn’t lift this from wikipedia) “neoclassical rotunda”, which is an iconic symbol of the university. There’s a little water fountain right in the middle of it which is what you drink from, it’s all very civilised. Anyway, the tradition goes that if you drink from the Old Well on your first day of class you’ll get a perfect GPA. I didn’t do it because there’s usually a long queue, and my laziness supersedes all other considerations. I blame this omission for my failure to achieve a perfect GPA #regrets. Don’t make the same mistake I did.IMG_0413
  2. Streaking through the libraries on LDOC: This is simultaneously the wackiest and most impressive UNC tradition. On LDOC (last day of class, detecting a pattern yet?) each semester, a group of brave souls strip to their birthday suits, usually after getting moderately tipsy, and run through all 3 of UNC’s main libraries stark naked. It starts when the clock strikes midnight to signal the last day of class, and people usually gather in the biggest library to watch (it’s not as creepy as it sounds). Keep in mind that this is just before final exams, I heard tell of one girl who balanced her laptop precariously on a railing so that she could watch the streaking while continuing to study for an exam. It’s wild. I promised my friend I would do it with her at the end of this semester, which I now regret. As she rightly pointed out though, I’ll be leaving the country shortly afterward and will never see any of these people again so #yolo. (Not gonna post a pic for obvious reasons)
  3. Rushing Franklin: You’ll recall I mentioned the basketball obsession in my last blog (MICHAEL JORDAN WENT HERE). The biggest basketball rivalry is between UNC and Duke, a particularly moneyed private university just a few miles away. The UNC Tar Heels and the Duke Blue Devils are sworn nemeses a la Harry Potter/ Voldemort (Ok maybe that’s a bit harsh, ‘Dook’ is Draco Malfoy, smarmy, elitist little bastard). Anyway during basketball season people go a little bit cray cray, which is probably why they call it March Madness. Apparently they set things on fire, just for the lolz? The biggest game of the season, though, is the UNC v. Duke home game. When UNC wins, everyone who was in Dean Dome watching the game, and basically anyone on, or near campus rushes Franklin (the main street) to celebrate. I’m not sure what exactly this celebration entails but it’s probably a lot of chanting, and foot-stomping. There’s also usually some kind of street bonfire. I would like to have more personal experience with this matter but the UNC v. Duke home game already happened and WE LOST BY 1 POINT!!!! 1 LOUSY POINT. I’m definitely not bitter… (I had to get this picture from google because of that 1 point)UNC Men's NCAA Basketball Championship celebration on Franklin Street

    This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to unique UNC traditions #justuncthings, but I wouldn’t want to completely spoil the element of surprise. After all, what’s study abroad without a dash of culture shock?


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