Social Life & Traditions
We’ve got our own DNA. Things that make Denison…Denison. Some of these traditions and campus favorites have been around for a long time — some are newer — and each one represents what makes our community unique and our campus fun.
- A capella - we got that - Four groups. Dozens of singers. Everything from gospel music to heavy metal. All without background music. Classic.
- Academic Awards Convo - Every April we cancel classes for an hour and cheer (loudly and proudly) for our accomplished students and faculty. (It’s a tradition that’ll bring a tear to your eye. Trust us.)
- Aestevalia - Every Spring we head outside and dance with abandon to great music — plus bouncy houses make everything better.
- The Bullsheet - Denison’s daily broadside — complete with biting satire and witty observations. Think “The Onion” for college.
- Burpees Seedy Theatrical Company - The longest-running college comedy troupe in America — it’s where Steve Carell ‘84 (of Office fame) got his start.
- The Cemetery - If your blood truly runs red (and white), there’s no need to leave the fair college on The Hill … ever. Be sure to catch the Burpees Seedy Halloween show held there every year.
- Chapel Walk - Probably the most-traveled path on campus, Chapel Walk leads from East Quad to the A-quad. No matter what season you’re there, it’s ridiculously gorgeous.
- Culture Jam - We celebrate African-American culture with gospel music, step competitions, comedy shows, an outdoor concert. Do. Not. Miss.
- D-Day - It stands for Denison Day. For decades, Denison students have rocked out to concerts with the premiere music artists of the day — Diana Ross and the Supremes, The Who, Dave Matthews, Ben Folds, and Mos Def, to name a few.
- Denison Deer (deer-ly beloved) - Yes, you’re going to see deer on campus — the live variety, no taxidermy here — and lots of them. They ARE adorable, but please keep your distance. They are shy woodland creatures after all.
- The Denisonian - Our student-run campus newspaper since 1857. (Fun fact, you can look through the old archives at the Library and surprise your friends with Denison trivia.)
- WDUB - The Doobie - Denison’s radio station streams online at DoobieRadio.com — so you can catch our cool blend of rock, funk, jazz, hip-hop, country, Carribean, K-pop — you name it.
- Ebaugh Pond - The site of many a tug-o-war resulting in one side being pulled into its murkish depths, Ebaugh pond is also the source of the term “ponding,” when someone is thrown into the water as part of a celebration.
- The Gala - Every Fall, we take over Slayter for a massive party. Can anything top a chocolate fountain?
- Ghosts in the Stacks - You might find more than just your research among the many stacks in the library. Boo!
- The Last Night - During their last night (or is it morning?) at Denison, seniors gather at Sigma Chi hill to watch the sunrise.
- Our, um, Mascot? - The closest thing Denison has ever come to adopting a mascot is the Big Red Buzzard, which appears every now and again at events. We can do better.
- Mt. Denison (Yes, we have our own mountain) - Come on, how many colleges have a mountain named after them? Thanks to Kirtley Mather, Class of 1909, Denison has one — the tallest peak in Alaska’s Aleutian Peninsula.
- Naked Week - Let’s be clear: Denison University does not officially condone or permit any form of public nudity. We just reserve the right to run around campus without clothes on — during the coldest week of the year.
- Pinning and Serenades - We celebrate true love with a week-long celebration, complete with parties, costumes, and games. Chivalry is not dead.
- Senior Week - That long goodbye to Denison, complete with a bucket list and the Senior Soirée.
- Skin Hill - It happens every spring. The sun comes out and so do the bathing suits as students drape themselves on the hill above Mitchell to catch some much-needed vitamin D after a long winter.
- The Snagel - A bagel, perfectly toasted and topped with smooth cream cheese and a healthy sprinkle of brown sugar, you can only find this delicious treat (the perfect study break nosh) at the Bandersnatch coffee house.
- That Giant Orange Thing on the Arts Quad - Love it or hate it, “Path,” a sculpture by Alexander Liberman, is a great place for a photo op that will have people guessing, “What IS that thing?”
- Watch Your Step! - The story goes, if you step on the college seal embedded in Chapel Walk in front of Swasey Chapel, you won’t graduate. It’s only a story … really.
- Whit’s Frozen Custard - It’s downtown. It’s fabulous. Seriously, you gotta have it.
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Denison University’s programs, offerings, events and arrangements are subject to change in the event of exigent circumstances, including the ongoing COVID-19 situation.