Ever wondered why you have to walk around the seal? Or why it’s an absolute must to sit on John Carroll’s lap and jump in the fountain at least once before graduation? Ever been told, “It’s tradition?”

From Hoya Homecoming to Georgetown Day and all of the (sometimes) historical antics in which we participate in between, traditions at Georgetown abound. Some of them are huge celebrations, while others are unwritten rules that none of us dare to break (minus the bold few that attempt to steal the hands off of the Healy Clock tower, of course). But they all share a place in our hearts as requirements that will truly complete our Georgetown experience. These traditions are the practices that connect us to those distinguished many that came before us, and those illustrious souls that will come after us. They are the customs that tie us to the likes of Bill Clinton and Bradley Cooper.

In a place that prides itself on a notable history, it is not hard to understand why tradition is so important. The word “tradition” is derived from the Latin word “traderer,” which literally means to “hand over,” or “give for safekeeping.” Our predecessors have given to us those rituals that they hold dear, and it’s our responsibility to protect them. Through our practices, whether it be standing in line for hours to hear the president of the United States or to taste an incredible Georgetown University Grilling Society burger, we ensure that the history of our beloved Georgetown lives on.

But at times, it has been our history that has created our traditions. For example, our traditional colors, blue and gray (for those of you that weren’t sure if it was supposed to be an “a” or an “e”), were adopted after the Civil War as a symbol of the Jesuits’ neutrality and a celebration of the war’s end. However, if truth be told, most Jesuits were Southern sympathizers during the War of Northern Aggression. Hoya Saxa, y’all. And after the Vietnam War, students decided to throw their energy into serving underprivileged communities during spring break (you didn’t really think Alternative Spring Break was your idea, did you?).

But ASB wasn’t the only new development on campus at the end of the Vietnam War. In fact, what’s arguably the biggest thing on campus for those of us that are coffee addicts came after protesters of the war were treated with tear gas on campus. In response, the student body president and vice president decided students needed a stronger, more powerful voice, and they believed incorporation was just the way to do that. Around a year later in 1972, The Corp was born, and it’s been delivering us those magical bagels ever since.

And what about the Jesuit tradition? A central theme to our education and experience, it’s crucial that we understand this convention of inquiry, engagement and understanding. A Jesuit education is one built on reflection of one’s self, service to others and an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. Drawing on this tradition, all of us that call Georgetown home live out the Jesuit ideals that ensure we fulfill the concept of cura personalis, while remembering we are called to always be men and women for others.

All of these things are important. Traditions, whether they be yours, mine or those we have learned from ol‘ Georgetown, make up part of who we are. They become elements of our identities and set us apart as Georgetown students forever. So if you think about it, traditions aren’t just those activities that we participate in once a year because, well, we always have. Traditions are those things that make us living participants in history. Haven’t you heard, “We are Georgetown?”

So go ahead: Swim in the fountain, sit in the big green chair, jump up on John Carroll’s lap and then run like hell when the Department of Public Safety sees you. It’s tradition.

Sydney Schauer is a junior in the College. She is a board member and the tour coordinator of Blue and Gray. IT’S TRADITION appears every other Tuesday.

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