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Rushes, Pranks, and Dinks

Rushes, Pranks, and Dinks

The Rough-and-Tumble Campus

(p.114) 4 Chapter Rushes, Pranks, and Dinks
Campus Traditions
Simon J. Bronner
University Press of Mississippi

The college campus can be a rude awakening for freshmen, who are probably made to feel like mere babes as they try to endure rituals and pranks that are part of the campus tradition. As they make the transition—and transformation—in the old-time college, the newbies are separated and humiliated before gaining passage to the higher status of upperclassman. The persecution of the freshmen can be traced to the master-servant relationship established between upperclassmen and first-year students, who were perceived as “novice apprentices” in early American colleges. The freshmen could vindicate themselves by beating the sophomores in a roughhouse competition known as scraps or rushes. Rushes have become rarer, although they still exist in tamer forms in some modern campuses. Another festive campus event is the tug-of-war, which is more often associated in the mega-university with fraternity and sorority competition than interclass contests. College students can also make their presence felt on campus by using their artistic abilities.

Keywords:   freshmen, pranks, campus tradition, old-time college, scraps, rushes, campuses, tug-of-war, mega-university, college students

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