Archives and Special Collections
- Voyager Catalog
- Cliff Smith YMCA Postcard Collection
- College Records
- Digital Collections
- 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
- Freshman Camp
- Freshman Week
- Interclass Scraps
Amy Drake, class of 2008, conducted research for this project.
Since the late nineteenth century, traditions at institutions of higher education in the United States have played a critical role in shaping student life and building an organizational culture on campuses across the country. Like students at other colleges, undergraduates at Springfield College have created, maintained, revived, and transformed several emblems, ceremonies, rituals, and other traditions. Many traditions beloved to generations of Springfield College alumni parallel those developed at other colleges. These include various freshmen-related rules, such as beanies and freshmen week, as well as mountain day. Often traditions encourage and later resolve class rivalries.
Traditions evolved over time as the academic culture in general and student life at Springfield College in particular changed. The first record of traditions at Springfield College appeared in the Student Handbook of 1915-1916. In 1930 the Student Association adopted a set of "established traditions" after a thorough review by a committee of students and faculty. The first tradition mandated that "Freshmen shall know the traditions, the Alma Mater, the cheers, 'Raise a Song for Springfield,' and shall carry the handbook during the fall term."
By 1971, the Varsity "S" Club, which had been responsible for fifty years for upholding College traditions through personal example and enforcing their regulation, was concerned that many traditions were anachronistic. They asked the student body whether specific College traditions, such as greeting everyone on campus and not walking on the grass, should be abolished or altered. The more than 600 students who responded to the questionnaire recommended that most traditions should remain largely unchanged.
Stepping Up Day
Started in spring 1926, Stepping Up Day marks the academic accomplishments of students as members of each class advance a year in their college careers. During the ceremony, held on MacLean terrace at Alumni Hall, the four class presidents pass on their current class symbols to the upcoming classes. In compliance with this newly gained recognition, students assume the responsibility and privileges of their new status. The highlight of this rise in class is that all freshmen, led by their class president, get their first chance to march along Senior Walk. It is also on this day that those elected to offices of student leadership assume the administrative position. Brief remarks are made by members of the College administration, alumni, and student body at the ceremony.