Traditions at the Y

What do you think about when you hear the word “tradition?” Tevye breaking out into song in Fiddler on the Roof? Family activities? Holidays? How do traditions make you feel?

Traditions bring people together. Traditions build community. At BYU we want to both bring students together and help them feel a part of BYU’s community, so we’ve highlighted some traditions that we hope your student will get involved in as they embark on their journey to be a true blue BYU Cougar.

Hiking the Y. Who knew that a high school junior-senior rivalry in 1906 would result in a large block Y on the mountainside, standing 380 feet tall—the largest college symbol in the U.S.? The 1.2 mile trek up to the Y is not for the faint of heart, but it is a must for every Cougar. Several freshman students have already taken on the challenge. If your student hasn’t ventured up yet, a great opportunity is coming up. On October 6th, the Alumni Association is sponsoring the annual Homecoming “Hike and Light the Y.” Shuttles will begin departing the Hinckley Center at 6:00 p.m.

Tunnel Singing. By some strange marvel of physics the tunneled walkway leading to the Marriott Center happens to have the perfect acoustics for singing. Back in the early 90s, a campus housing RA put this surprising discovery to use by organizing tunnel singing every Sunday night, followed by announcements of mission calls. This is a freshman-only tradition, so students should take advantage of it now.

Chocolate: BYU Style. The BYU Brownie. BYU Chocolate Milk. These are two reasons we are truly grateful for BYU Dining Services. If you haven’t yet had the opportunity to try these favorites, plan on it during your next visit to campus. If a visit isn’t on your agenda anytime soon, all is not lost. BYU Magazine published the recipe a few years ago. If you’re looking for chocolate in liquid form, BYU Chocolate Milk should be your drink of choice. We think the fountain chocolate milk dispensers located in the Commons at the Cannon are pretty close to heaven.

Athletics. We’re taking a little break from Rivalry Week since our next football game against a certain Utah school just up the road won’t be until 2016. But when Rivalry Week resumes, students can expect to see the campus statues all wrapped up in plastic. We hear several clever explanations and many refer to the First Child statue being “sealed together.” The real story? Preventative damage control from our mischievous rivals.

Even without Rivalry Week, there are plenty of athletic traditions for students to experience:

True Blue Football. Sometimes traditions evolve over time. While we may no longer hold tiger wrestling and ostrich racing during Homecoming Week, students get pretty excited about True Blue Foam. It originated as Mud Football. The mud is now massive amounts of blue firefighting foam and the football has been replaced by a giant slip and slide at Helaman Field. Participants will likely glow a little blue for a few days after this year’s event on October 7th.

Social Life. Even the briefest summary of BYU traditions wouldn’t be complete without mentioning traditions relating to social life at the Y. Will you really get engaged within the next year if you rub the ring finger of the mother in the First Child family statue? Do you really have to buy your roommates ice cream after a first kiss? And what are those ward “meet and greet” or “linger longer” activities anyway? We’ve decided that some traditions are best left for your own student to explain. Or maybe a visit to the famous BYU 100-Hour Board is in order.

The Y Book. Wouldn’t it be nice if BYU traditions were compiled so new students could learn all about them? BYU’s Alumni Association published “The Y Book” s a few years ago. It is no longer in print since the Alumni Association is replacing it with an app (coming soon). Until then, you can view it online. In addition to detailing BYU traditions in text and pictures, it has an associated incentive program – the Cougar Challenge. If students complete a set number of traditions, they can earn pins and a medallion.