How can we make tradition more accessible

Tech has numerous traditions which students participate in every year. For some students, participating has been central to their college experience, but less so for others. // Photo by Taylor Gray Student Publications

As the title of this issue may suggest, it’s time for Homecoming, and with it comes a slew of traditions as old as the Institute itself. We at the Technique would like to take moment to not only recognize our favorite traditions — Homecoming or otherwise — but also the importance that traditions can hold for your college experience.

The first tradition we’d like to recognize is the Freshman Cake Race. While the early start time and requisite exercise make it the least favorite tradition for some, the race holds a special place in the hearts of many students, especially because it caters uniquely to freshmen. 

For many freshmen, it can be difficult to get involved with activities on campus — especially those as daunting as traditions baked into the Institute’s core — so it is nice that the cake race aims to specifically provide freshmen with an avenue to participate. 

The second tradition we’d like to recognize is the Mini 500, the annual tricycle race around Peters Parking Deck. The Mini 500, unlike the Freshman Cake Race, plays to the strengths of Tech’s students and allows them to do what they do best: engineer. Tasked with ensuring that a tricycle lasts eight laps, teams go to new and amazingly creative lengths to secure victory. The race is a spectacle to watch and definitely should not be missed.

The third tradition we’d like to recognize is  Midnight Bud, which is not a very documented tradition but is definitely widely loved. During finals week, students unofficially gather in front of Brittain Dining Hall around midnight to commiserate their woes in a celebratory manner. With instruments and singing, this unusually lively night of finals week precedes Midnight Breakfast and is a great opportunity to get away from the books for a little bit.

Some smaller traditions that we would also like to recognize are the practice of leaving pennies at Sidewalk’s grave and the Technique’s very own annual “To Hell With Georgia” issue. Tech students believe that leaving pennies at Sidewalk’s grave will grant them good luck on their finals.  Even if you don’t have the time to stop by one of the bigger events, taking a moment to leave a penny can be a great way to participate in a tradition. The “To Hell With Georgia” Issue is the Technique’s yearly satire issue that aims to poke fun at

UGA during rivalry week and is an excellent way to show clean, old-fashioned hate.

Whether big or small, traditions are inextricably intertwined with the Tech experience. However, we would be remiss to not recognize the fact that some of these traditions are inherently inaccessible. For example, it may be difficult to participate in the Mini 500 if you are not a part of a student organization, a very likely situation for freshmen. Another example would be the Wreck Parade, which consists of floats that are primarily created by fraternities, limiting the involvement of students not in Greek life.

We at the Technique urge Tech students to work to make traditions more accessible. Even if such changes may upset alumni, it is important to remember that traditions serve one group: the students. If you don’t find your college experience in the traditional Tech traditions, we encourage you to go out and make your own.

Whether it’s going to Waffle House with your roommates every finals week or participating in the Wreck Parade, you get to create your own traditions and, with it, your college experience.