Ch 2—Cardinal Culture

—an insider scoop to life on the farm

At Stanford, we take our passions seriously, but we don’t take ourselves too seriously.  The culture of “work hard, play hard” runs deep in our bones, and with it, comes a slew of Stanford traditions that run from cute to quirky to “you do you”. This is us just scratching the surface in terms of vocabulary, events and traditions you’ll learn about during your 4 (or more, see “Coterm” below) years here.

Gear + Apparel

The Stanford Store

(650) 375-2476  •
Tresidder Student Union 1st Floor (next to Jamba Juice)
Hours: Daily 10am–8pm 

Student managed and operated, the Stanford Store sells Stanford apparel and accessories, most of which are cuter, cheaper, and of better quality than those at
the Stanford Bookstore. Tees, sweats, accessories, and more; anything you need, you can get it here at the Stanford Store.
All profits benefit the student body through the Associated Students of Stanford University
and you get 10% off all purchases with your Student ID.



BYO—bring your own; Context: BYOB(everages), BYOL(aptop), BYOF(ood)

The Claw—the massive fountain in front of the Bookstore; ideal for fountain hopping and summery gallivanting.

CoHo—the Coffee House in Tresidder Union; along with great food and coffee, the CoHo often has student and local band performances.

Coterm—Coterminal Master’s Programs; Many departments offer these Master’s programs that allow undergraduates to seamlessly transition from undergrad to creepy grad student without ever having to leave the Bay Area.

EANABs—equally attractive non-alcoholic beverages, so that everyone can be in on the fun.

FloMo—Florence Moore Hall. Donor Florence Moore required that ice cream be served at every meal; known for amazing Indian food on Sundays.

FroSoCo—Freshman Sophomore College. An enchanted land of elusive folk, FroSoCo is an academically focused residence with about 180 students at the west end of campus.

GSB—Graduate School of Business. Stanford’s largest fraternity.

IMs—intramurals. An awesome way to make and build friendships while working up a sweat.

IntroSems—Introductory Seminars; don’t miss out on taking one of  these small, focused classes led by top faculty!

LCO—Legal Counseling Office. Free legal counseling for those unexpected legal issues.

LSJUMB—Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band or just, “The Band”. See the next section for more.

MemAud—Memorial Auditorium, currently the largest indoor performing space on campus. It’s a popular venue for student plays, acapella and dance performances, as well as A-list guests like Bill Gates and Barack Obama.

ProFro (RoHo, HoHo)—all acronyms referring to participants in Admit Weekend. Prospective Freshmen, Room Hosts, and House Hosts partake in a dazzling weekend of tongue-twisters and confusion.

PWR—Program in Writing and Rhetoric. Freshman year PWR classes focus on writing and sophomore year PWR classes focus on public speaking.

Rally—to dress in rally is to dress as ridiculously as possible. This is often the expected attire at a Special D (see next column), as well as anything the Band ever does. Think onesies, tutus and space cat leggings.

SLE—Structured Liberal Education; A rigorous and intellectually intense freshman program focusing on writing, philosophy and the Western Canon.

SoCo—Sophomore College, a three-week intensive course at the beginning of your sophomore year.

Special D—Special Dinner; ridiculous, raucous meals hosted at the various upperclassmen residences throughout the year. Usually themed and involving copious amount of merrymaking.

TAP—the Axe and Palm. Located in Old Union, it’s the perfect place to grab late night snacks, catch a sports game, or people-watch.

University—the short version of University Avenue and what Palm Drive turns into as you leave campus; it’s home to cafés, ice cream parlors, bookstores, and boutiques.


Fewer things better embody the loud, wacky, in your face and nonsensical side to Stanford’s student body than the Stanford Band. Our “marching” band is better known to scatter and has traded in traditional uniforms for tutus, loud Hawaiian shirts, and the odd cheese grater or two. More infamous than famous, they are the garish personification of a counter-culture backlash against traditionally stuffy college marching bands. Don’t believe us? Here’s what history has to say:
• 1987, Rolling Stone magazine—“It’s hard for anyone raised on rock to imagine that a band could sound this loud without thousands of watts of amplification.”
• 1990, University of Oregon: the Band was banned from the state for criticizing Oregon’s wildlife protection policies in their halftime show.
• 1991, Notre Dame: the Band was banned from Notre Dame when the drum major dressed as a nun and used a wooden cross as a baton.
•  2004, vs. Brigham Young University: the Dollies dressed as brides and the band manager proposed to each of them in turn.
Interested? While the Stanford band may not be the best at playing their instruments, they are certainly the best at having a good time. You don’t even have to play an instrument to join. All you need is crazy school spirit and no shame whatsoever. Go Card!

The Good Life

Traditions, Parties, and School Spirit

From  Big Game to Wacky Walk, students begin and end their Stanford careers with longstanding traditions. In true Stanford spirit, boring rituals give way to unconventional traditions that beckon the question: Why wouldn’t you want to jump in that? Check out this comprehensive list of some of the most practiced Stanford rituals.


FMOTQ—Full Moon on the Quad. Once upon a time in the 19th century, male Stanford seniors would present female Stanford freshmen with a red rose and a kiss on the cheek at midnight of the year’s first full moon. These days it’s an all campus party, involving some snogging, lots of Listerine, and live music.

Big Game—The most epic football game of the year in which the Stanford Cardinal takes on those dastardly hippies from across the bay. The big day is preceded by a week’s preparation involving spewing the blood of our enemies from the top of the Claw, massive intimidating signage everywhere, and various other shenanigans.

Stanford Axe—The Stanford Axe is a university heirloom with a bloody and storied past. It is now the official trophy of the Big Game. The Axe Committee is responsible for the protection of the Axe as well as leading cheers and yells during football games.

Faculty Dinner—Usually sponsored by your dorm or dining hall, these evenings present a low key substitute setting to invite and hang out with your favorite lecturer, dreamy PWR prof (mmmmm), or superstar researcher.

Secret Snowflake—The least G-rated of your freshman dorm-sponsored activities, this tradition involves a week full of secret dares involving scenarios that are just as uncomfortable to watch as they are to enact.

Primal Scream—The most cathartic part of dead week; At midnight, students engage in a mutual, unsynchronized, but oh so good feeling scream wherever they are on campus. Go on, join them; you’ve earned it.


Ski Trip—Everyone in your dorm piles into a cabin with an occupancy that is approximately one-fifth the size of your dorm. Experience levels range from Olympic skiing to competitive hot tubbing – you’ll definitely find your version of a good time.

Assassins—A freshman dorm tradition and battle royale, Assassins involves everything that makes spy movies great: stealth, treachery, paranoia, and… squirtguns. Typically at the end of winter quarter, you and your dormmates are given secret assignments to “assassinate” one another. May the Odds be ever in your favour!

Screw Your Roommate—It’s not as awkward as it sounds. You and your roommate set each other up with random people you know and the entire dorm participates in one massive group date.

Midnight Breakfast—One night during Dead Week in winter quarter, esteemed faculty members serve students breakfast food at dining halls throughout campus from 11pm-1am. Whether you’re suffering from the munchies or just really want to see your professor in a chef’s hat, midnight breakfasts make for an awesome study break.

School Spirit Etiquette
—Things You Need to Know How to Do

All of our sports teams are basically the best, so you’ll definitely need to know our school cheers. Study this before your first game, slap some red paint on your face and make sure your parents are ready with the DVR. You like sportz and you don’t care who knows.


Kickoffs—jangle your keys in the air as loudly as you can as the kicker revs up. As he approaches, yell “ooooOOOOOHHHH” in a crescendo
that lets up the moment he kicks the ball.

Third downs for the other team—make as much distracting noise as you can. Yell, bang your hands on the seats in front of you, stomp on your seat, whatever it takes.

First down for us—as soon as the announcer says, “first down, Stanford,” raise both pointers in the air with another “oh” crescendo. Then immediately point your fingers down at the field three times, each time saying “oh!” Finally point both fingers in the direction Stanford is playing and yell, “first down!”


Intros for the other team—after each opposing player’s name is read, the crowd yells “sucks.” It isn’t polite… but at least we’re not hockey fans.

Fouls—when the other team fouls us, chant “you-can’t, do-that!” (clap, clap, clap-clap-clap).

Random cheering—one side of the stadium yells “GO!” and the other yells “STANFORD!” It isn’t rocket surgery.

All Right Now; Timing the jump—during the (usually fairly long bridge), the Band comes to a very obvious, prolonged crescendo. This is your cue.
There will be two particularly loud notes from the trumpets, then you count, “five, six, seven, eight” and jump as you yell “woo!” Practice early and often.

In true Stanford spirit, boring rituals give way to unconventional traditions that beckon the question:

Why wouldn’t you want to jump in that?


Formal—Like prom. But in college. Each class has an annual formal, as do most Greek organizations and some houses.

Stanford PowWow—For 40 years, the Stanford PowWow has been one of the largest in the world, and one of the most spirited Stanford student events. Check it out for a mind-blowing cultural experience, complete with food, music, dancing, and art.

Fountain Hopping—We have 25 different fountains on campus so you and your scantily-clad dormmates have plenty of options for fountain fun. Whether you’re soaking up the sun post-finals with a beverage in hand or enjoying a romantic moonlit excursion, it’s always a good time. Water features on campus are currently dry because of the drought.

The Game—Like the Amazing Race, Stanford edition. You and a team of friends follow super nerdy and intense clues written by your RAs all over Stanford, San Francisco, and beyond in a 24 hour marathon treasure hunt.

Wacky Walk—Immediately prior to the actual graduation ceremony in the Stanford Stadium, graduating seniors showcase their goofy individuality in pun-y displays of school spirit, thanks to Mom and Dad, and silliness as they circle the stadium.

Eurotrash—Kappa Sig’s annual all-campus affair involving a lot of leather and a higher-than-usual number of mustaches.

Pearls & Ice—an annual party thrown by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc. and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. fall quarter. The party hasn’t disappointed yet, so consider it a must if you want to party with the best in hip-hop and R&B.

Mausoleum Party—the massive Halloween party thrown by the Junior class presidents at Leland Jr.’s tomb. It would be creepy if you weren’t surrounded by your best friends, glow sticks, energy drinks, and techno music.

Beer & Pretzels—Celebrate the end of hump day at Haus Mitt’s backyard fortnightly Wednesday night party, with, you guessed it, Beer and Pretzels. Wunderbar!

Wine & Cheese—a low-key, artsy Wednesday night tradition at Kairos. Berets, penny loafers, and hipster plaids highly recommended.

Happy Hour—Wednesday nights at EBF are always an experience. Anything can happen when you enter the Enchanted Broccoli Forest…

Pizzeria—basically a huge dinner party with all your friends and unlimited wine, held once a quarter at Casa Italiana. Act fast though because tickets sell out in seconds…literally.

Snowchella—massive party hosted jointly by Sigma Nu & Kappa Kappa Gamma, with great DJs and an abundance of sweaty people. Plus, it’s a charity event!

Nomad Party—a massive roaming party on the last night of finals each quarter that traverses the entire campus, making numerous, notable stops in libraries, fountains, and frats. If you have a final on the last day, may the powers that be help you… you can usually hear the party from anywhere on campus.

Cowabunga—Sigma Chi’s new pledges transport you to a tropical paradise as they transform the frat’s front lawn into a sandy beach complete with palm tree decorations. Forget about spring quarter finals and wiggle your toes in the sand.

Exotic Erotic—probably the only event you’ll attend where there’s a (thoroughly optional) clothing limit. Held at 680 during Spring quarter.

1 comment

  1. Holliswood New York Hospital

    Great to see such a great collegiate institution promoting positive mental health care amongst its students!

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