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Traditions and Events

The Christmas Holiday Dance

The annual Christmas Dance was first held in the Student Union. In later years it moved to a more upscale location at Kleinhans Music Hall.

Dancing under the Christmas tree, 1940

Santa at the Holiday Dance, 1937

Freshmen Week and the Rules

Traditionally the beginning of the school year is marked by Freshmen Orientation - a time when incoming students are given the "run-down" of how things work at UB. In the 1948-1949 Student Handbook "Freshmen Week" is explained:

Welcome all you Freshmen. The incoming women students are at this time given into the care of a "sister" - an upperclass woman of the University. A tea is held in the afternoon to acquaint the new girls with as many of the student body as possible. A Men's Mixer is the source of many new found friendships on the behalf of the male population of the University. All this is made possible through Norton Union as one of its many services to the new students.

The Frosh were also given a small card easy to fit in a purse or pocket with the "Bible" of a new UB student: the Alma Mater, Class Yells, the song The Bison is King and of course the very important Freshmen Rules.

freshman orientation
freshman orientation

The Freshmen Rules were offically adopted on September 30, 1916 when a special Student Council committee was granted permission from the Medical Faculty to enforce the rules. The committee consisted of the president of the senior class, the presidents of the three respective Medical Fraternities and one non-fraternity man elected from the student body at large.

The Rules were an important part of Student Life for many years. Compare the first Freshmen Rules in 1916 to the Freshmen Rules of the 1960s:

Freshman Rules, 1916
  1. A freshman is any student spending his first year in any Department of the University and who is eligible for freshmen teams.
  2. Each and every freshman shall wear at all times, except Sundays and special occasions, a cap of the following description: A blue skull cap with a white button. All freshmen must have caps by October 7th.
  3. No freshman shall smoke in or about the building nor shall he smoke a pipe on the streets of Buffalo. The smoking room in the Medical building is for upper classmen ONLY.
  4. No freshman shall indulge in alcoholic liquids, nor shall he be allowed in the G.A. or in any of the cabarets or cafes of Buffalo, unless accompanied by an upper classman.
  5. Freshmen must not flirt with girls during school hours.
  6. No freshman shall be permitted to sit in the first six rows, or in the boxes of any theatre unless accompanied by parents or upper classmen.
  7. No freshman shall occupy a seat in a trolly car when by so doing a lady or an upper classman may be oblidged to stand.
  8. Painting or other wise defacing the buildings or equipment of the University is forbidden.
  9. All freshmen shall be in their rooms by 11:30 p.m.
  10. No freshman shall wear a moustache, nor shall he while in college wear a pin representing his preparatory school in any manner, nor shall he wear any emblem or insignia of that institution.

It is incumbent upon freshmen to remember and observe these rules without having to be spoken to by upper classmen.

Freshman Rules, c.1960s
  1. All Freshmen are required to wear caps such as are prescribed from Opening Day of College until Moving Up Day, every day except Sunday, from 7:00 A.M. until 6:00 P.M., and at University Games.
  2. Freshmen shall not smoke in or about University buildings but shall carry matches for upper classmen.
  3. Freshmen shall not wear any preparatory or high school pins or insignia of any kind at College.
  4. Freshmen must show due respect for upper classmen, such as wearing no mustaches, sideburns, and giving up seats in case none are vacant to Upperclassmen.
  5. Every Freshmen must know his Freshmen rules, "The Alma Mater," the Yells, and other College Songs.
  6. Freshmen must sit in reserved section at all games.
  7. All Freshmen must turn out for all parades and mass meetings, as on Student Activities Day and Moving Up Day.
  8. Freshmen shall not wear anything gaudy -- suitable attire shall consist of white shirts and collars, inconspicuous ties, black sox, no belled trousers, meek face and moderate voice.
  9. Freshmen shall respond to Student Activities calls and promote the growth and development of the University of Buffalo to the best of their ability.

Men's Freshman Orientation Camp

1935 Freshman Camp brochure (front cover only)The purpose of this weekend at the Buffalo YMCA camp near Angola was to help the Freshman man become acquainted withe one another before the start of the fall semester. At this orientation they discussed University rules, Freshmen eligibilities, honor societies, sports, traditions, fraternities, finances, religion, and studies.

Why Go to Camp? (from the 1935 camp brochure)
  • The Freshman Camp introduces you to the customs and traditions of the University in an atmosphere of good fellowship.
  • The camp helps promote friendships between freshmen, upper classmen and faculty members.
  • The past years have shown that those men attending camp have become outstanding campus leaders.
  • The camp bridges the gap between high school and the University.

Homecoming Weekend (1934-present)

With the Fall sports season comes the Homecoming Weekend. The old grads return, a little grayer and little paunchier than the year before, but also prouder, with each succeeding year, of being an alumni of UB.

Homecoming 1960 featured the Buffalo-Colgate football game, the crowning of the Homecoming Queen and the Homecoming Ball. The beautiful Indian Summer day was darkened by a see-saw 28-20 loss to Colgate. During the halftime proceedings a helicopter delivered the Queen, Miss Suzanne Cofran, to the center of War Memorial Stadium, where the band formed a heart around her as she donned her crown and robe. That evening the alumni and undergraduates mingled at the annual Homecoming Ball at Kleinhans Music Hall, while fraternities held cocktail parties in honor of their returning alumni.

(from the 1961 Buffalonian)

Homecoming Queen, Diana Brunsvold and UB President, Martin Meyerson (with roses) during halftime, 1966

1959 Homecoming Queen, Linda Benson with Chancellor Furnas (far left)

Homecoming 2000 events centered around the football game between the UB Bulls and the Ball State Cardinals. Other featured events included half-time festivities featuring the crowning of the homecoming king and queen, and a rousing performance by the "Thunder of the East" marching band; a free pre-game party from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., with food, face-painting and prizes for alumni, students, parents, and faculty and staff members under the white tent at the corner of Augsperger and Coventry roads hosted by the UB Alumni Association; a performance of commedienne Janeane Garofalo; and a traditional carnival with games of chance, food and the lighting of the bonfire will be held from 6 p.m. to midnight on Oct. 20 on the shores of Lake LaSalle.

-- from Reporter article by Mary Beth Spina

The Harvest Dance

(started in 1934)

An annual event starting in 1934, the Harvest Dance was a costumed affair usually held during Homecoming Weekend. Prizes were given for the most original costume, funniest costume, most attractive costume, and best couple. Some years had specific themes: in 1941 had a pirate theme while in 1939 the Harvest Dance committee introduced a new idea: a Lil'Abner inspired "Sadie Hawkins Dance."

Harvest Dance, 1939

Harvest Dance ticket, 1945

Kampus Karnival

Kampus Karnival from the 1961 BuffalonianKampus Karnival was an annual Fall event sponsored by the religious council. Student organizations contributed to charity by establishing bazaar booths in the gym and presented entertainment and contests to the student body.

In the fall semester of 1960 the theme was "Space Age." Some of the entering organizations' booths featured a miniature golf, a refueling station, and an interplanetary turtle derby. Others preferred the "good old days" to the space age.

(from the 1961 Buffalonian)

Junior Prom

Junior Prom was one of the most festive affairs held annually by the University of Buffalo. During the event, the Prom Queen, chosen through a popular election, was crowned. Bison Head then tapped new members from the Junior men of the University who were outstanding during the year. Provided that the dance was a success, the Board of Managers Scholarship was awarded to a Junior or a Senior who had been active in extra curricular activities. It was customary to procure a big-name band for the occasion.

-- from the 1948-1949 Student Handbook

The 1945 Junior Prom Committee posing for the Buffalonian.

Dancing, c. 1950s

Band, 1937

Dancing at the Junior Prom

1943 Junior prom announcement

Stunt Night

At one time Stunt Night was the highlight of mid-spring semester. Fraternities, Sororities, Residence Halls and Clubs would vie for first place in a sketch comedy competition. The 1963 Buffalonian yearbook described what Stunt Night was all about:

"Each year, to take us away from the hum-drum of books, libraries, and midterms; we step from the world of reality to the world of make-believe or fantasy by presenting Stunt Night. This may sound like simple fun! Fun - yes, but simple?... Weeks and weeks of preparation preceded each show. Each group must first decide on a theme, choose appropriate music, rehearse, buy costumes to fit the theme, select scenery which is suitable yet quickly movable, decide upon the correct lighting, and finally adjust their act to fit into the allotted time."

The Sigma Kappa Phi performance at Stunt Night in the mid 1960s

Greek men during Stunt Night, 1947

"At all times, the Stunt Night committee may be consulted for advice or assistance because they have been appointed to help the entire show 'run smoothly.' Unbelievably through the whole time of rehearsal and preparation; themes, songs, costumes, and colors are kept a secret (even among the girls)."

Some examples of acts from Stunt Night '62:

  • women catching men with feminine wiles rather than a gun
  • Sigmund Freud on the UB campus
  • the "orientation" of the UB freshmen

Winter Weekend and Carnival

Instead of moaning about the Buffalo snow - in the 1950s-1960s, UB students used the snow to their advantage. Winter Carnival was an anticpated event annually every February. The weekend included events such as a ski fashion show, ice-skating, a snow sculpture contest, skiing contests, an all freshmen talent show, a king and queen contest, a beard growing contest and a jazz concert.

Winter Weekend, snow sculpture contest, 1949

Car Skiing during Winter Carnival, 1950

Beard growing contest, Winter Carnival, 1952


Matt Shelton and friends at Oozfest 2002
© Matt Shelton

Every April at the Mud Pit on St. Rita Lane, 128 teams compete in Oozfest. Presented by the University Student Alumni Board (USAB), the student affiliate of the UB Alumni Association, Oozfest is one of the largest collegiate mud volleyball tournaments in the United States which involves over 1,000 players and volunteers. The teams and volunteers consist of UB students and alumni, as well as members of the Buffalo community.

Since its inception in 1984, Oozfest has become more than a volleyball tournament with lots of other activities, including music sponsored by radio station Kiss 98.5, a rock-climbing wall, wheelbarrow races, three-legged races, dizzy bat spin races, blue ball hunt, an ice cream-eating contest, muddy water balloon toss, leap frog, and tug-of-war competition.

Proceeds from Oozfest 2004 benefit programs such as the J. Scott Fleming Scholarship Awards, which honor students who have demonstrated positive leadership qualities at UB (the only student-to-student scholarship presented at the university).

Moving Up Day

(started in 1922, in 1963 became known as Spring Weekend)

MUD Queen, Barbara Lang, 1961 (from the Buffalonian)

The day when Juniors become Seniors, Sophomores become Juniors and the lowly Frosh cease to be so lowly and enter with proper dignity into their new exalted positions as Sophomores. Seniors who on this day are ushered into the cold world are apt to look upon this last step upward and out of their Alma Mater with sorrow.

(from "Moving Up Day" The Bee May 5, 1923)

Moving Up Day 1961

MUD may just take a weekend to run its yearly course but preparations for it begins months in advance. The main hobby of the students becomes flower making in preparation for their floats. Flower making parties to produce artificial flowers become part of the campus curriculum. As MUD draws nearer the activity becomes more pitched and usually reaches a peak on Friday night when the organizations work through to the next morning. As the floats start to roll down Main Street some float chairmen have been known to be still hammering as the parade progresses.

While floats are still in the process of being built, several co-eds are busy campaigning for the honor of MUD queen. Stunts proceeding the voting have included on-campus picnics, Volkswagen stuffing, and decorating the campus with flower-laden archways and colorful signs. The queen is crowned during the MUD ball which usually follows numerous picnics and cocktail parties thrown by the campus organizations.

With the end of a Sunday jazz concert MUD is gone for another year, during which the participants regroup and rest to come back again next year with as much enthusiasm as in the past.

(from the 1961 Buffalonian)

Spring Weekend Events, May 1968

According to the University Union Activities Board, sponsor of the weekend, other events will include a watermelon eat, a tug of war arranged by the Commuter Council, a carnival, car whack, mixer and fireworks shows, trike race, and dormitories Open House... Also scheduled are a concert by Your Father's Mustache, (May 2nd, Fillmore Room, Norton, 8:30pm), a fashion show with candidates for Queen (April 30. Fillmore Room, 3:30pm), and an outdoor barbeque (May 3, lunch and dinner all afternoon, Tower lawn).

In addition to a Spring Weekend Queen, who is chosen by the student body and crowned at the Spring dance, Mr. Faculty is selected each year at this time.

(from the May 1969 Communique Campus Calendar)

Ivy Day - Senior Week

When Samuel P. Capen was sworn in as Chancellor in 1922, many traditions were established that promoted the academic achievements of the University of Buffalo. One of those traditions was Ivy Day, established in 1923. Seniors were invited to plant ivy along Hayes Hall as a symbol of their contributions to the academic reputation of UB.

During the first week in May members of the Senior Class wear caps and gowns to their classes, and such events as Rose Day, Ivy Day, the Senior Luncheon, and the Senior Tea take place (from the 1948-1949 Student Handbook).

Seniors in their Caps and Gowns
Planting Ivy along Hayes Hall, 1945

Event Calendars

UB Event Calendar logo from 1938

(comparing selected excerpts from two different school year calendars)



14-17 Freshmen Orientation


Preliminary Freshman Session. Entering students in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Schools of Business Administration, Education and Pharmacy. Students to report in Auditorium of Norton Hall on North Main Street Campus at 9:30 A.M.


Tea. Arranged for Freshman Women by Upperclass Women. Norton Hall. 4:15 P.M.


Tea Dance. Freshmen Students. Norton Hall. 4:15 P.M.


Freshman Camp. Men Students in the Campus Divisions of the University. Camp Whitford near Angola.


Opening Convocation. Address by Chancellor Samuel P. Capen. Auditorium of Edmund Hayes Hall on North Main Street Campus. 9:30 A.M.


Camera Club Meeting. Blue Room of Norton Hall. 8:00 P.M.



Freshman Elections. Election of officers of the freshman classes in the Campus Divisions of the University. Norton Hall Auditorium. 1:15 P.M.

Blue Masquers Meeting. Blue Room of Norton Hall. 8:00 P.M.


Football Game. Manchester College. Tonawanda High School Field. 8:00 P.M.

Opening Dance. Auspices of the Student Union. Norton Hall. 10:00 P.M.


Out-of-Towners Club Meeting. Blue Room of Norton Hall. 8:00 P.M.


Kenesset Club Meeting. Blue Room of Norton Hall. 8:00 P.M.



Alumni Homecoming Day. Students to act as hosts to Alumni on North Main Street Campus.

Football Game. Hobart College. Rotary Field. 2:15 P.M.

Matinee Dance. Auspices of the Student Union. Norton Hall. 4:00 P.M.

Harvest Dance of the Student Union. Norton Hall. 10:00 P.M.


Newman Club Meeting. Blue Room of Norton Hall.


Outing Club Hike. Zoar Valley. 8:00 A.M.


Annual Panhellenic Ball. Chinese Room of the Hotel Statler. 10:00 P.M.



Annual Christmas Carol Party. Friends of the Lockwood Memorial Library. At the Library. 9:00 P.M.

Fifth Annual Christmas Dance. Auspices of the Student Union. 10:00 P.M.


Three-Act Play. Philip Barry's "Hotel Universe" to be presented by the Blue Masquers. Norton Hall Theatre. 8:30 P.M. Admission - $0.50.


Student Union Christmas Party. Norton Hall Auditorium. 11:15 A.M.

Matinee Dance. Auspices of the Student Union. Norton Hall. 2:00 to 5:00 P.M.



Tea. Arranged for Freshmen Women by Dean Lillias M. Macdonald. Blue Room of Norton Hall. 3:30 P.M.


Moving Picture and Dance. Auspices of the Student Union. Norton Hall. 8:00 P.M.


Anniversary Dance. Fifth Anniversary of the Student Union. Norton Hall. 10:00 P.M.


18th Annual Junior Prom. Selection of Prom Queen and Tapping of New Members of Bisonhead, Senior Men's Honorary Society. Hotel Statler. 10:00 P.M.



Reverse Dance. Auspices of the Student Union. Norton Hall. 10:00 P.M.


Stunt Night. Auspices of the Student Union. Norton Hall. 8:00 P.M.


18th Annual Home Concert and Dance. Musical Organizations of the University. Hotel Statler. Concert, 8:00 P.M., Dancing, 10:00 P.M. to 2:00 A.M.



Blue Masquers Play. "Fly Away Home," three-act comedy written by Dorothy Bennett and Irving White. Norton Hall Theatre. 8:30 P.M. Admission - $0.50.


Ninth Annual Acquaintance Day. High School Juniors and Seniors of the Buffalo Area. General Meeting, 2:30 P.M. Group Conferences and Inspection Tours, 3:30 to 5:30 P.M. Dance, 9:00 to 12:00 P.M. University Campus.



Rose Day. Inauguration of Senior Week Activities in the Campus Divisions of the University.


Ivy Day Exercises. Traditional Planting of the Ivy on grounds adjoining Edmund Hayes Hall, 3:00 P.M. Faculty Tea for Seniors in Norton Hall, 3:45 P.M.


Senior Convocation. Norton Hall. 11:15 A.M. Also election of Moving-Up Day Queen and Class Officers and Members of the Board of Managers of the Student Union for next year.

Senior Luncheon. Main Dining Room of Norton Hall. 12:30 P.M.


Spring Dance. Millard Fillmore College Student's Association. Park Country Club. 10:00 P.M.


Moving-Up Day. Parade starting at the Terrace at 11:00 A.M., Convocation at 12:00 P.M., Luncheon honoring Moving-Up Day Queen at 1:00 P.M., Lacrosse Game at 1:30 P.M., Football Game at 2:30 P.M., Fashion Show at 3:30, Matinee Dance at 4:30 - 6:00 P.M. Moving-Up Day Dance at 10:00 P.M. Norton Hall.


Freshman Dance. Arts College and Business Administration Students. Election of Freshman Queen. Norton Hall. 10:00 P.M.



Ninety-Third Annual Commencement Exercises. Address on "The Education Essential for A Democracy" by Dr. James Rowland Angell, President-Emeritus of Yale University. Auditorium of the Buffalo Consistory, 1180 Delaware Avenue. 10:30 A.M.

Senior Ball. Park Country Club in Williamsville. 10:00 P.M.



Tea for Parents of New Students. 3 P.M. - 5 P.M.

17-20 Orientation Week:


Registration. Norton Hall. Millard Fillmore Lounge.

Convocation. Clark Gym

Tour. 2 P.M.

Divisional meetings. 2:45 P.M.

Greek Night. 8 P.M.


Frosh Hop. 8 P.M.


Game Night. Norton Hall Game Room and Snack Bar. 7:30 P.M.

Splash Party. Clark Gym. 7:30 P.M.

Movie. Capen Hall. Room 140.


Hillel Tea. Millard Fillmore Lounge. Norton Hall. 2-4 P.M.

Student Christian Association Reception. Millard Fillmore Lounge. Norton Hall. 7:30 P.M.


"The Seven O'Clock Club and the Eight O'Clock Club." Dancing Class. Instructed by Mr. and Mrs. Robert E. Driscoll. 390 Hayes Hall. Meets at 7 P.M. and 8:30 P.M. (20 Thursday Evenings, beginning 9/27).


Homecoming Rally. Campus.


Homecoming Day. Dedication of Hochstetter Hall. 11 A.M. - 12 noon.

Football. UB vs. Carnegie Tech. Rotary Field. 2 - 4:30 P.M.

TUNK. Alumni and guests invited. Faculty Club. 4:30 - 5:30 P.M.

Cocktails and dinner. Trap & Field Club. 6 - 9 P.M.

Dancing. Trap & Field Club. 9:30 P.M. - 1:30 A.M.


Newman Club Reception. Newman Hall. 3 - 9 P.M.



Inter Fraternal Council (IFC) Ball. Kleinhans Music Hall. 9 P.M. - 1 A.M.


Panhellenic Tea. Norton Hall. 2 P.M.


Pie Eating Contest. Snack Bar. Norton Hall. 3:30 P.M.


Freshmen Parent's Day. Campus. All day.


Movie. "Hamlet." Norton Auditorium. 12:30; 3:30; and 7:00 P.M.


Harvest Dance. Norton Hall. 9 P.M. - 12 midnight


Serenade in Blue - AFROTC. MFC Lounge and Norton Auditorium. 9 P.M. - 1 A.M.



Political Rally. Mock Election for the Presidential candidates. Norton.


Panhellenic Ball. Hotel Statler. 9 P.M. - 1 A.M.


Kampus Karnival. Clark Gym 8 P.M.


Chancellors' Ball. Norton Hall. 9:15 P.M. - 1:30 A.M.



Norton Union Christmas Party. 2 P.M. - 6 P.M.


Silver Ball. Hotel Statler. 10 P.M. - 2 A.M.


MFC Christmas Dance. Hotel Buffalo.


Blue Masquers Play. "The Long Christmas Dinner." Half-hour play by Thorton Wilder. Two shows - 11:45 A.M. and 12:45 P.M. Norton Auditorium. Student and faculty are invited.



Freshman frolic. Norton Hall. 9 P.M. - 12 midnight.

15-17 Winter Carnival Weekend.


Bop Hop. Norton Hall. 8 P.M. - 11 P.M.



Stunt Night. Two performances - 7 P.M. and 9:30 P.M. Norton Auditorium.


Inter Fraternal Council (IFC) Ball. Kleinhans Music Hall. 8:30 P.M.


Juke Box Dance. Snack Bar. Norton Hall. 7:30 P.M. - 10:30 P.M.


36th Annual Junior Promenade. Hotel Statler. 10 P.M. - 2 A.M. Featuring Woody Herman and the Third Herd. Tickets - $6.00. Dress - semi-formal.


Personal Appearance of Charlie Peterson, intercollegiate billard trick shot artist. Norton Hall. All day.


Kite Flying Contest. 3:30 P.M.



University Men's Glee Club - Directed by Dr. Irving Cheyette and the University Concert Band - Directed by Robert Mols. Works by Stravinski, Mozart, Persichetti and others. 8:30 P.M. Norton Auditorium. Tickets may be obtained at the Music Building, Winspear Street.


Pegs Water Show "Aquarama." Clark Gym. 8:15 P.M.


Bunny Hop. Norton Hall. 8 P.M.


10-12 Moving-Up Day Weekend:


Parade - begins at Memorial Auditorium, down Main Street to the University Campus. 9:30 A.M.

Awards Ceremony - campus. 11:30 A.M.

Queen's Luncheon - Norton Dining Rooms. 1:30 P.M.

Dance - Norton Hall. 9 A.M. - 12 midnight.


University Picnic. Cerrone's Grove. 2:30 P.M.



Commencement. Lockwood Memorial Library, UB Campus. 3 P.M.