Veishea, cherry pies and the zodiac are just a few of the many ISU traditions each student and faculty member know. At first, they seem strange or overwhelming, but by the time you leave Iowa State, they are ingrained within your brain. These traditions complete the college experience.
For Jeff Johnson, president of the ISU Alumni Association, what makes the ISU traditions so great is that they are fluid. "They are comprehensive, it's not just about athletics. People find their soulmates, their calling and they find a community here."
Alumni and current students agree one of the most treasured landmarks on campus, with its own share of traditions, is the Campanile, located on Central Campus. The Campanile began as a gift of bells from the first ISU graduate in 1872 as a gift for his wife, also an ISU student. From the beginning, they wanted to have the bells create a carillon, which led to the Campanile as students know it today.
The Campanile involves the tradition of Campaniling, which students will tell you is the mark of a true ISU student. Lovers meet on Central Campus at midnight to share a kiss on Homecoming and Veishea nights.
"If you were to think of the campus as a living organism, which has to have a heart or soul, that's how I look at the Campanile. The chiming of the Campanile is like the beat of the heart," Johnson said.
Johnson said many of the traditions associated with Iowa State revolve around the beloved Central Campus.
"Nobody wants to build on Central Campus," he said. "While the university changes, the Central Campus stays the same. For people who are coming back after a long time, they go to Central Campus and feel back at home."
One of the biggest celebrations on Central Campus is Veishea, which celebrated the first five colleges of Iowa State: veterinary medicine, engineering, industrial science, home economics and agriculture. The event began in 1922, when students had the idea to combine all the activities the colleges had into one big celebration. Today, Veishea is one of the largest student events in the United States and is now a week-long celebration complete with music, activities and cherry pies - cherry pies are one of the symbols that started with the first Veishea.
Another tradition at Iowa State, is the superstition regarding the zodiac. The zodiac in the Memorial Union looks unworn due to the long-standing tradition of walking around the zodiac. The original artist planned for it to be walked on, but superstitious students know that walking on the zodiac will ensure the flunking of their next exam, so they cautiously walk around it. If a student does walk on the zodiac and wishes to transform his soon to be fate, he or she must throw a coin into the Fountain of the Four Seasons directly outside the Union.
ISU traditions may seem confusing, but like most things in life, students learn them simply by participating in the events of campus life.
"Our traditions happen naturally. They aren't written down but passed down by how we live them out. It's like falling in love, you don't set out in doing it, it just happens," Johnson said.