Flash-Back Friday: An Old Tradition at Northern

In 1925, the Color Day Parade wanted to encourage student to have more school sprit by wearing the school colors. The freshmen were expected to embrace this new idea by appearing in a green and gold cap called a pot. Keeping this tradition alive, the freshmen fell in line and participated in the school spirit. By 1931, the use of the frosh class pot had become a well-established tradition. The cap became a way for students to be identified as freshmen during the first few weeks of school. At one point there was a question of whether the pot would be a continuous tradition at Northern.

In 1954, freshmen were required to wear their beanies for initiation during homecoming week. The freshmen would have to wear their beanies until the end of the football season if they lost the games against the upperclassmen during homecoming week. One of the traditions was that if the freshman-constructed bonfire that did not exceed the 31-foot mark, they would have to wear the beanies for an additional week. If freshmen did not wear their beanies, it was implied that they could have their heads shaved.

The beanie tradition was attacked by Professor William Cooper of the Economic Department in the fall of 1968. Soon after, students began to complain about the tradition and the fact that the wearing of beanies was not closely monitored. In October of 1970, the Northern News carried an editorial, “Beanie Boloney” and soon after, the Northern tradition had come to an end.


To learn more about Northern traditions, please check out the finding aids for our collections or stop in at the Archives! Starting next week, we will be back to our summer schedule of Monday-Friday 8 AM-5 PM.

Written by Prince Parker


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