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What Are The Most Romantic College Traditions?
College is a place for learning first, but one can hardly deny it’s also a place where many people fall in love for the first time. Throughout the years, so many couples have found each other on college campuses, that it’s only natural that lore accompanies history.
Of course, even when it comes to subjective measures of love and romance, every college wants to be the best. We deem these 25 spots, and the college traditions surrounding them, to be the most romantic on American college campuses.
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25. Crim Dell Bridge, Williamsburg, VA, College of William & Mary
Do you want your kiss to last forever? It is believed that if a couple crosses the Crim Dell Bridge together, and follow with a kiss, then their love will bind them to each other forever. If for some reason the couple eventually breaks up, it’s important that they stay on good terms long enough for the lady to push her lover over the railing of the bridge; otherwise she will be cursed with a long life of solitude. Grim, isn’t it? A similar legend claims that if one crosses the bridge alone, then they are destined to be lonely for the rest of their lives. If this is true someone should build an alternate bridge right next to it.
24. Singing Valentines, Des Moines, IA, Drake University
Send a song and flowers to your Valentine. A perfect gift for those who are not endowed with the talent of singing, but wish to invoke music to bring out the love and passion they have for their better half. At Drake University, the university’s choir is on hand to perform just such a service. Your significant other is sure to appreciate this grand gesture, and the fact that you didn’t subject them to your own singing voice. However, you may want to book now. We hear Valentine’s Day is a big day for the singing telegram business.
23. Orton Tower Bells and Oval Walk, Columbus, OH, Ohio State University
It is said that if a couple walks hand in hand across the Oval as the Orton tower bells ring, and no one crosses their path, then their love will last forever. Since the Oval is the center of one of the largest populations of any college campus in the world, this one may be hard to pull off. Since this one may require multiple attempts, you can recharge at nearby Mirror Lake, a romantic destination in its own right.
22. Spoofer’s Stone, Fayetteville, AR, University of Arkansas
Spoofer’s stone is believed to be a remnant of the Old Main building, and represents a tradition well known to the folks of the University of Arkansas. Long ago, when fraternization of the sexes was against the norms, students used to leave notes for their couples. Later it became a place known for men to pop the big question. The tradition demanded that the couple break a chip of the stone to represent their marriage, which explains why the stone has such a rugged appearance. The chipping of the stone has since been banned, but it continues to represent a great tradition.
21. Kissing Rock, Kenosha, WI, Carthage College
The Kissing Rock has been a key part of Carthage University’s tradition. It was pulled from a field way back in 1913, and has since been a popular destination, as folklore states that a woman is supposed to kiss any man found occupying the space around this magical stone. The stone, covered in paint and graffiti and weighing 5000 pounds, isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, which its visitors hope is a metaphor for the resilience of their love.
20. Sweetheart Circle, Statesboro, GA, Georgia Southern University
The heart circle of magical love. Located at the front of the GSU campus is a rolling lawn of picturesque live oaks and pecan trees. In 1906, this was the only place where men and women were allowed to interact. It has become a monumental place for the students and the alumni of the Georgia Southern University since many of them have proposed and even held wedding ceremonies on this ground. It’s also rumored that if a couple goes around the circle three times, then they are destined to be married.
19. Old pump, West Lafayette, IN, Purdue University
The lovers lane. Back in the early days of Purdue University, there was a law that forbade ladies from attending dates on weeknights, and an enforced curfew for the ladies to get back to their dorms before the specified time. The old water pump, was conveniently located next to the ladies’ quarters, so young lovers would find reason to step out past curfew under the guise of getting water from the pump. Today the place still serves as a romantic destination for the campus’ folks.
18. Eternal flame, Champaign-Urbana, IL University of Illinois
A kiss that leads to a lifetime of eternal bliss. Given as the class gift of 1912, the eternal flame monument sits between the English building and Lincoln hall. It’s a semicircular bench with an electric lamp mounted on top of it. This monument represents a legend that if two lovers kissed there, they would be bound to each other eternally. This tradition is still being carried out by the students of this university. Married Illini often return to the spot to admire this glowing symbol of their devotion to each other.
17. Kissing Tree, Lexington, KY, Transylvania University
The Kissing Tree stands at the steps of Transylvania’s library and represents a great memory to the alumni of the school. This is the place where students used to visit to steal a kiss or two. It’s said that in the early days when kissing was strictly forbidden, teachers and administrators would only look the other way if a student was standing under the tree. The tree is still viewed by the University as a romantic spot, and students visit it on dates or hang out sessions. It has been named by the Chronicle of Higher Education as one of the most romantic places on American college campuses.
16. Kissing Circle, Athens, OH, Ohio University
Snuggled into a brick paseo on Ohio University’s campus is a circular pavement area that bears with it the sweetest of traditions. During the 1950’s it was commonplace to see lovers meet at this place to kiss or leave chalked messages for their better half. Much older traditions stipulated that a man and woman should kiss whenever they passed through the circle at the same time. Notably, in 1962, a student declared his love by writing his message in the circle for the whole campus to see. Today the circle still serves as a haven of love in the University.
15. Botany Pond, Chicago, IL, University of Chicago
The Botany pond has been in existence in the quad of the University of Chicago since 1902. The pond had a wide variety of animal and plant diversity, but nowadays is mostly koi and a smaller variety of plants. Still, it is a refreshing biological oasis within the major metropolitan area . There is a legend claiming that if a couple kisses on the bridge that spans the pond, they will end up marrying each other.
14. Kissing under Engineering Arch, Ann Arbor, MI, University of Michigan
While engineering and love aren’t typically associated with each other, Ann Arbor breaks the mold. According to legend, any couple who kisses under the engineering arch right at the stroke of midnight, are bound to tie the knot. It’s a less practice tradition in modern times, but alumni of the University of Michigan still visit the spot during their wedding processions.
13. Widener Library Stack Smooching, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University
As part of the college ritual of taking your sweetheart somewhere less conspicuous for a secret rendezvous, be it kissing, making out, or something more, the school’s Widener Library is the perfect spot. It’s actually thought to be a rite of passage for undergraduate students. Though few students have managed to pull this one off to success, there are dark and hardly used sections of the library that could serve as the perfect romantic spot to go with your significant other if you are a Harvard student provided the books do not bother you and you are unmoved by the danger of being caught.
12. Full Moon on the Quad, Stanford, CA, Stanford University
This tradition is believed to have begun way back in the 1800s, when senior men would present freshmen women with a red rose and give them a peck on the cheek. The tradition disappeared for a long time before it was resurrected in 1980 and since then has turned into a less formal ritual where alcohol is often involved. If you are lonely and not a werewolf, then join this full moon tradition and have a great time.
11. Beaumont Tower Kiss, East Lansing, MI, Michigan State University
Completed in 1928, the Beaumont Tower has served so many purposes and was the first building to be constructed at MSU. It was also the first building in America to be used for scientific agriculture. The tower represents a number of traditions, the most common one being kissing either in the tower’s shadow during the day or at midnight in the Beaumont courtyard, to prove that one is a “true Spartan”. It’s thought that a Spartan is fated to marry a sweetheart if they kiss under the Beaumont Tower.
10. Wishing Steps, Allentown, PA, Cedar Crest College
The Wishing Steps house a tradition in Cedar Crest College that dates back 50 years. The Wishing Steps are located behind the Alumnae Hall and run down the woods to Cedar Crest Park. The Muhlenberg men used to take Cedar Crest women and walk them up the stairs. Upon reaching the top, the couple will make a wish, which allegedly will be fulfilled provided they both took the same number of steps. For obvious reasons, the steps are also known as Proposal Park. Most women who were in Cedar Crest College have fond memories of the Park.
9. Tower Bell, Wheaton, IL, Wheaton University
In 1898 and 1918 ringing of the Tower Bell represented serious matters such as calling students to prayer and announcing the beginning of the Spanish-American war. Thereafter the mood of the bell lightened to that of announcing marriages and most recently, engagements. The past few decades, newly affianced couples go up the Tower to ring the bell as an announcement of their engagement. Couples leave pictures that are kept in the Tower memory book, and have their names registered in the “Up the Tower” list that is printed in the student newspaper. The school’s alumni always come back to commemorate their wedding anniversaries; ringing the bell and finding their names on the wall. The tradition states that couples ring the bell in three sets of seven for engagements and seven sets of three for weddings.
8. Campaniling, Ames, IA, Iowa State University
Way back in 1960 an ISU school paper wrote that a girl wasn’t really an Iowa State coed until she had been kissed under the campanile just as the bells tolled midnight. This practice of midnight smooching in Iowa is known as “Campaniling.” One can get in on the Cyclone rite of passage during homecoming or Veishea by participating in mass Campaniling, which makes hundreds of Iowa Staters flock the central campus for midnight fireworks and kisses. As much as Mass Campaniling is fun to engage in, the real tradition lies in you and your sweetheart sneaking away to central campus and stealing kisses from each other as the bells strike midnight.
7. Rock Arch, Bryn Mawr, PA, Bryn Mawr College
There is a common saying that, if it happens twice at Bryn Mawr, it’s a tradition. The college alums can attest to this. There are many traditions that the school still respects to date. The Moon Bench for instance is at the end of senior row. As the story goes, if sweethearts sit together on this bench they will eventually break up. Since 1989 the legend has eased up to the norm that you can’t kiss someone while seated on the bench. The converse of that spot is the Rock Arch, under which you can kiss and ensure a lasting relationship.
6. Passion Puddle, New Brunswick, NJ, Rutgers University
The Rutgers University prides in a lot of extracurricular activities. the most romantic of these places and activities is the Passion Puddle. Situated between the Cook and Douglas campuses (constituent schools of Rutgers), the legend originally stated that if a male student from Cook College and a female student from Douglas College held hands and walked around the water three times they would be married.
5. Lover’s Lane, Clemson, SC, Clemson University
Clemson University is a jack of all trades when it comes to tradition: gathering on Bowman Field, running down “The hill,” “Tiger Rag” and many more. But perhaps the most romantic is the Lover’s Lane, which holds that a stroll through President’s Park with your sweetie is a sure sign that an engagement ring is in your future!
4. First Kiss at Willow Walk, Hamilton, NY, Colgate University
Willow Walk is one of the most beautiful settings on one of the most beautiful campuses in the country, so it’s natural enough that you would want to kiss your sweetheart during a stroll. Don’t do this too hastily, though, as legend states that a first kiss on Willow Walk destines you to marry that person.
3. Shoe Tree, Murray, KY, Murray State University
Just a small distance from Pogue Library, the Shoe Tree sits in the sun with at least 50 pairs of mismatched shoes attached to it. No one in MSU has any idea when the Shoe Tree began but that has not hindered them from honoring the tradition. It is believed that if two students meet at Murray State, fall in love and then marry, they will have good luck only if they both nail a shoe to the Shoe Tree. Lovers make it a habit to write their anniversaries in their shoes as well. It is also common for people to return to nail a baby’s shoe to show that they have started a family. Today’s Shoe Tree is the second after the first was hit by lightning and subsequently caught fire.
2. Upham Arch, Oxford, OH, Miami University
The Miami legend says that if you kiss your true love under the Upham Hall Arch, you will marry and the bond will never be broken. This actually qualifies as the most famous of the Miami University’s legends. Related to the Upham Arch superstition is the term “Miami mergers”. Miami sends a Valentine’s Day card to married alumni every year as a way to recognize the mergers.
1. Rose Well House, Bloomington, IN, Indiana University
The Rose Well House, a cozy little gazebo on the Indiana University campus in Bloomington is the most romantic spot on an American college campus. It is believed that a female student is not officially a Hoosier coed until she has been kissed beneath its dome at midnight. The Rose Well House is located at the Old Crescent which is considered the oldest part of the campus.