Archives and Special Collections
- Voyager Catalog
- Cliff Smith YMCA Postcard Collection
- College Records
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- Links to Archival and Primary Sources
- Manuscript Collections
- Rare Books & Special Collections
- Babson Library
- The Springfield College Museum at Judd Gymnasia
- YMCA Hall of Fame
- The Birthplace of Basketball
Note: Links on some of the Archives pages are not yet working due to a software upgrade. We are addressing this issue
The freshman beanie tradition dates to the early 1920s. Entering students were required to wear their beanie all year and only removed it on Stepping Up Day, originally called Decapitation Day, in the spring unless they defeated the sophomores in the inter-class game of football. The first beanies were green. Research suggests this was because new students were "green," that is, inexperienced. In 1930 the beanies were changed to maroon and white to match the College’s colors. The Springfield Student newspaper of May 9, 1930 explained that "In adopting the change, it was pointed out that the purpose of the Frosh cap is not to make the yearlings look ridiculous, but to identify them." During the 1970s transfer students switched to wearing a cap rather than a beanie to indicate that they were not first-year students.
With the encouragement of boys work pioneer Edgar M. Robinson, class of 1901, the College created a camp program for freshmen in 1924. Springfield College has offered one of the oldest and largest camp leadership training programs. Following a fire at the camp site at Gerrish Grove in 1930, the College built the Pueblo of the Seven Fires and other buildings at the new East Campus along Lake Massasoit (known to locals as Watershops Pond). Courses comprise lectures, demonstrations, and hands-on projects in campcraft and field science including such related subjects as flowering plants and astronomy. In addition to attending formal courses taught by faculty, students have cooked meals, learned College songs, and enjoyed swimming in the Lake for more than eight decades.
Since the 1920s all freshmen have been expected to attend a series of activities, formal and informal, academic and festive, to acquaint them with College traditions and student life on campus. These initiation events have evolved from gentle hazing rituals to more organized activities sponsored, in later years, by the College administration and faculty as well as students. Designed, in part, to develop solidarity and unity of the class, the haze week ordeal included various silly and harrowing activities. The 1926 Massasoit yearbook, for instance, describes the initiation that occurred at West (now Judd) Gym following a supper in Woods Hall and parade in downtown Springfield in which the freshmen were presented to the mayor at the municipal building. "In their stockinged feet they were introduced to the electric mats, egg shampoos were administered and the usual shoe rush was held."
From the 1920s through the 1960s freshmen united against the sophomore class in a series of friendly rivalries. These events ranged from a surprise flag scrap to a cane rush and various other competetions. One of the roughest games was cage ball, which the two classes played every fall. Played on a football field with a ball roughly nine feet in diameter, the object of cage ball was to push the ball across an established line to the opponent's side for a goal. About the only rule was that play stopped when the ball went out of bounds. Other annual contests included an action-packed rope pull over Lake Massasoit.