Scouting for New Traditions

Let’s not be naive: colleges and universities “steal” traditions all the time (though in deference to the Honor System, let’s just say “share”). For instance, legend has it that U.Va. adopted it’s orange-and-blue school colors from a scarf that a student had recently brought back from Princeton University — and that those colors were subsequently “shared” with Auburn University.

In that vein, Ithaca College in upstate New York has a cool New Year’s tradition. Apparently, there are two fairly tall residential halls, located side-by-side atop a hill, that have nice, orderly windows. By putting lights in some of the windows and keeping the others dark, Ithaca’s version of Facilities Management can spell out the last two digits of the year — one digit in each building. At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Eve, they change the lighting pattern to the digits of the new year.

Here’s a behind-the-scences video:

The obvious question: Can it be done at U.Va.? Are there buildings with suitable windows that can be seen reasonably well? Would anything at the hospital work? Or is this just redundant, since Lighting of the Lawn is already well-established?

(Note: Hat tip to Ithaca resident Amy Cronin, the former chief of staff for former U.Va. President John T. Casteen III, who shared the video on her Facebook page.)

5 Comments on “Scouting for New Traditions

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  3. A point of clarification: The school colors of orange and blue came from a scarf brought back from Oxford (not Princeton). The scarf was from one of the rowing teams at Oxford. A remnant of that scarf is in the Virginia Historic Society museum in Richmond.

  4. Wayne is indeed correct, UVA’s orange and blue came not from Princeton but from the UK— from the Grosvenor Rowing Club, in fact (http://bit.ly/Z5dvex). Student Allen Potts brought back a Grosvenor orange and blue boating scarf and was wearing that same scarf at the historic 1888 meeting in the Rotunda Annex when the new colors were chosen. Amazingly, when working on his documentary Wahoowa (http://bit.ly/ZmvHVT), filmmaker Kevin Edds (Col ’95) FOUND Alan Potts’ scarf at the Virginia Historic Society in Richmond— the “holy grail” of Virginia athletics! The VERY FIRST orange and blue. (http://bit.ly/VE5Ra1) Perhaps one day the University might bring the scarf to Charlottesville and put it on display— returning it to Grounds for the first time in nearly 125 years!

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