4 Colleges with Cool Winter Traditions

Since schools are in session during the majority of winter, many colleges have embraced the cold, snow, ice, and season’s spirit by celebrating and creating annual events. From heartwarming to bizarre, here are 4 colleges with really cool winter traditions.

Dartmouth: Polar Bear Swim

Flickr user D Allen

What helps with studying for classes? Well, according to the students at Dartmouth—jumping into a freezing pond. A tradition over two decades old, the Polar Bear Swim sees students (and also sometimes professors) jumping two-by-two into Occam’s Pond. Someone cuts a square through the frozen-over pond to access the water below.

A loop of rope is tied around the student’s waist before they jump and swim to the other side, where a ladder and a staffer help them out of the chilly pond. People say it’s very invigorating and refreshing, giving students a much-needed boost to continue working hard. It’s also part of the school’s Winter Carnival.

Middlebury College: Winter Carnival

Middlebury College hosts a winter carnival.

Flickr user ehemphil2014

Middlebury’s Winter Carnival is a three-day-long celebration that dates back nearly 100 years and claims to be the oldest student-run winter celebration in the nation. Some events are free to the public, others require tickets.

Bonfires, fireworks, ski races, concerts, movies, winter sports, snow-sculpture competitions, a human sled-dog race, and a hot chocolate bar, are just a few of the highlights of this festival. Students also highly anticipate the Ice Shows, and a Winter Carnival Ball tops everything off.

Virginia Tech: The Corps. vs Civilian Snowball Fight

Flickr user argylejargon

Typically the first snowfall signifies the coming of winter. At Virginia Tech, when snow first falls, fire alarms go off and herald in something else: a massive snowball fight. This highly anticipated annual event. Hundreds of people participate in this fun-filled battle each year.

There are dozens of videos of the crazy fight if you’d like a taste of the action. The only rule? There are no rules. So if you see a snowflake and hear a fire alarm, get ready!

Bates College: Winter Carnival

Bates College also hosts a winter carnival.

Flickr user Colin Campbell

Hosted by the Bates Outing Club, this four-day celebration is chock-full of wintry activities. Each year a theme is chosen—past examples include Mardis Gras and the Roaring 20s. This carnival has lasted for about 100 years and is still going strong.

The whole thing kicks off with a torch relay ceremony. There are three-legged snowshoe races, ice skating parties, bonfires, cafeteria-tray sledding. There is an annual “Puddle Jump” where students jump into the icy Lake Andrews.

Interested in any of these cool schools? Check out College Raptor’s free match tool to see if they’re a good fit for you!

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