UHart Traditions for a New Academic Year

August 28, 2023
Submitted By: Office of Marketing and Communication

When exams are just a few days away at the University of Hartford, certain words creep into minds across campus. Books, late nights, concentration, contemplation, hope—and bacon and omelets!

That’s because of all the campus traditions at UHart, the Late Night Breakfast Special for students and faculty/staff volunteers is one of the most fulfilling. It’s held at the University Commons in the main residential dining hall, attracting more than 1,000 students. There’s plenty of delectable morning-type food to provide what one staff volunteer calls much-needed here-come-the-exams comfort.

It's good to know, though, that there are plenty of less-caloric traditions on campus throughout the year, starting on move-in weekend. 

Even one steeped in superstition: Don’t step on the “H” in the Alumni Plaza. According to legend, if you do step on it, you won’t graduate. How it started may be a source of some speculation, but it’s here to stay. Many students think of it as a combination joke, hoax, and a golden opportunity to tease fellow students who either don’t know about it or inadvertently step on it.

The letter H plays another role in campus traditions, though this time in a decidedly less jokey, hoaxy way. During move-in weekend, new students form a massive “H” on the quad outside the Hursey Center for a photo. “This is my personal favorite because I love seeing such a large number of people (who are essentially still strangers) come together to do something collective,” says Katie Kitchens, assistant vice president of the Division of Student Success. “It’s a little bit of a trust exercise because it’s a strange thing we’re asking everyone to do—yet every year people jump right in and we have such a fun time doing it.”

While making the H is one of those pleasantly passive traditions, there are plenty of active ones. Like painting an anchor! 

Coloring the 13-foot-tall anchor near Bates House is one of our oldest traditions. It’s a way for school organizations, sororities, and fraternities to display their colors. Just how many coats of paint the anchor has is anyone’s guess. The three-ton anchor was originally on the USS Hartford, cited by many historians as our salvation during the Civil War. It came to UHart in 1958. If its hundreds of layers of paint could talk, it would tell intriguing stories of the thousands of students who have participated throughout the years.

The enormously popular Pre-Flight and First Flight events that are part of our Hawktober celebrations are two more food-related traditions. But more than that, it’s a great way to destress, play games, and spend valuable time with friends both old and new. 

There are several others, such as the UHart Black Student Union’s annual Fashion Show to benefit The Book Fund, and students in red caps welcoming cars on campus during move-in weekend and then serving as orientation student leaders. Plus, there are plenty of fraternity and sorority-based traditions (look for the Greek symbols made up of rocks in Park River under the. bridge). 

While some traditions may not have an exact origin, or need a little explaining, they all have one thing in common—they’re Uniquely UHart.