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SAA plans on keeping Drake traditions alive for years to come


Why do some traditions persist while others fade away with time? Drake has quite a few traditions, from Kissing Rock to the paint fight on Painted Street. These are often pitched to potential and incoming students as integral parts of Drake culture and the Drake community. 

However, the truth is somewhat of a different story when it comes to these long time rituals. 

Take “Hubbelling,” for example, something mentioned on tours and during Welcome Weekend. It started with students taking Hubbell trays out to sled down the hill by the Quad Creek at the first snowfall of every year. 

Yet this past semester, when we saw early snowfalls in November and December, no such activity occurred. 

“We didn’t start planning it before the break,” said Julia Buchholz, one of the Vice Presidents of traditions for the Student Alumni Association (SAA). 

They have started planning it now for some time in the next few weeks. However, she worried that the weather is starting to get warmer, so it might not happen now.

Another reason for the lack of tray sledding last semester also maybe because “Hubbelling and the Emmenecker usually take place in the second semester, while Kissing Rock and the Welcome Weekend Scavenger Hunt are more first-semester traditions” said Buchholz. 

It seems in part that the traditions are guided by doing things the same way as in the past, which makes sense to a certain extent. However, some Drake traditions have also been lost this way.

Drake used to do a Mostly Naked Mile tradition, that had to do in some part with running and another section with donating clothes. Wondering when it’s happening this year? It won’t be, as so few people attended in it’s last few years that SAA stopped putting it on.

Other events, like Kissing Rock, remain active and well attended year after year. From its beginning in 1898, with the donation of the rock out of respect toward University President George T. Carpenter, Kissing Rock has remained a popular tradition with 333 attendees last year.

Kissing Rock is more substantial, in part because it has a set date that is advertised ahead of time, versus Hubbelling which is meant to be a spur of the moment event. 

However, the Emmenecker also doesn’t have nearly as large of a turnout with 73 attendees last year, despite the fact it also is heavily advertised ahead of time. 

Many students on campus don’t put much stock into these Drake traditions, with many first-year students skipping the Welcome Weekend Scavenger Hunt and students who don’t show interest in attending events. However, many students were confused about why Hubbelling didn’t happen.

“I did the Welcome Weekend Scavenger Hunt,” Meghan Newman said. As a first-year student, she felt she learned a lot about Drake through the event. 

When it comes to attending a Hubbelling event, “I would, absolutely,” Newman said. 

“We try to keep traditions alive in ways students want to come,” said Sophie Christensen, the other Vice President of Traditions for SAA. “If you’re a Drake student, it’s those quintessential things, like ‘Oh, you went to Drake, you know about Hubbellingyou, you know about Kissing Rock.'”

SAA believes that keeping these traditions alive is essential, and plan on doing so by trying to morph the traditions into events that allow the most Drake students to experience and enjoy the events. 

Rather than just grabbing trays and sledding down the hill, SAA is making plans to have Griff be there, providing hot chocolate and cookies, and possibly setting a competition with prizes to entice more attendance. 

Christensen said, “We want to keep it around; we’re just trying to find a new normal for how it looks in the 2020 Drake school year.” 


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