—USC — University of Southern California —
For many decades, the Trojan Spirit has been rooted in USC's rich campus life. In each era, however, the environment that has fostered
that spirit has taken on a radically different character.
The university's first students filled their leisure time with a sedate mix of literary societies, debates, chapel services and an occasional dance. But by the early 20th century, USC's students had developed a campus culture marked by an elaborate set of rules and traditions that were governed largely by class standing.
At the top of the heap were the seniors, who enjoyed such privileges as a bench reserved exclusively for their use and the right to don "sombreros," defined as any felt hat with a straight brim. Only
juniors and seniors were allowed to wear corduroy trousers on campus.
Lowly freshmen bore the brunt of the rules. Men were ordered to wear special hats, while women were forbidden to
wear hats on campus and were required to wear green armbands
above the elbows of their left arms. All freshmen were supposed to avoid the walks of Old College,
the university's second building,
and Bovard Administration
Building, after it was built in
1921 . They were forbidden to
wear any high School jewelry or clothing and to park their cars on University Avenue (today's Trousdale Parkway, formerly
a major city street). They were responsible for gathering the wood for the bonfire at the annual Pajamarino, the biggest pep rally on cam¬pus, which brought out students clad in pajamas and nightshirts. Those who violated the rules were subject to a dunking in the "duck pond," which was sometimes a mucky pool, sometimes a large vat filled with water.
Throughout the year, the
different classes held athletic con¬tests, some involving conventional sports, like the baseball game between the faculty and seniors, and some decidedly unorthodox. In one muddy contest, the fresh¬man and sophomore classes rushed
a greased 25-foot-tall pole set up
on the old athletic field and
attempted to be the first to plant
their class's flag at the top.
The rivalries persisted
almost to Commencement. During Senior Sneak Day, the seniors cut classes and picnicked at the beach while the underclassmen held a mock funeral to commemo¬rate the passing of the graduating class. Ivy Day, how¬ever, named for the seniors' tradition of planting an ivy vine alongside Old College, marked the end of the class rivalries: the presidents of the junior and senior class finally buried a symbolic hatchet and smoked a peace pipe.
By the 1940s, with USC growing into a major university, most of these traditions had died out. But their memory remains a nostalgic remnant of earlier times.