Geneseo traditions are an encompassing and uniting entity. They range from dancing on the Inn Between risers and engorging in 2 a.m. feasts at Mama Mia's to enjoying scenic sunsets on the valley's edge.
To those who have never set foot on Geneseo terrain, some traditions may sound unusual (bingo at the Statesmen, broomball, trivia at the Vital) but for students, these elements define the Geneseo experience.
To keep these distinctive traditions alive, Geneseo's Undergraduate Alumni Association is hosting its very first "Traditions Challenge" to replace the spring break trip, which was discontinued this year.
"This year, when coming up with new ideas, we asked ourselves why we were doing the spring break trip, and we decided it was time for us to reinvent ourselves," said Assistant Director for Alumni Relations and UAA advisor Tracy Gagnier '93. "We came up with the idea to pinpoint goals that every student should accomplish."
With that idea in mind, UAA developed the Traditions Challenge, a checklist of activities that students must complete before they graduate. By posting tagged pictures of their participation on the UAA Facebook page, students can prove their completion of each event.
The events on the list range from eating breakfast at Geneseo Family Restaurant to participating in a Late Knight event. Other events include paying a birthday visit to Kelly's Saloon and buying dinner at Big Tree Inn on the meal plan.
To help students complete the challenge, UAA will offer several opportunities for students to share traditions together – breakfast at GFR will be held on March 6 and students can gather in April to watch the sunset. The first 100 people at both events will receive free Traditions Challenge T-shirts.
The contest kicked off this past Friday at the final Geneseo Ice Knights hockey game. After picking up their free Traditions Challenge T-shirts, students got the chance to complete the "cheer on the Ice Knights" task and take a picture with the Knight himself.
After picking up her free T-shirt and getting her picture taken, freshman Kathryn Boland said, "This is a cool challenge. Geneseo has pretty unique traditions that have been around for a long time, so it's awesome that students are coming together to share experiences that define our school."
There are currently no rewards for those who complete the list, but Gagnier hopes that the experience will be a prize in itself.
UAA is sponsored by the Geneseo Alumni Organization. The parent group hopes to link current students to alumni through events like the Traditions Challenge.
"I don't feel the connectivity there used to be. I think learning about old traditions is essential to connecting to alumni," Gagnier said.
Gagnier promises that the Traditions Challenge is just the beginning of UAA's fresh new start. "We're hoping that after this challenge, UAA will become huge," she said. "Every student is a member and it's part of the dues you pay. We really are every person's club and the things that encompass every student's experience here."