For Freshmen. By Freshmen.
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Jun 16 2017
by Madalyn Deselem

11 Purdue University Traditions to Observe Before You Graduate

By Madalyn Deselem - Jun 16 2017

Purdue University is a school proud of its traditions. With its rich history, there are a lot of things to do before you say farewell to West La La, Indiana, in four years. For you freshmen, myself included, here begins your Purdue University class of 2021 Bucket List. 

1. Take a ride on the Boilermaker Special.

Trevor Mahlmann

Operated by the Purdue Reamer Club, the Boilermaker Special is an iconic staple on campus. The train pictured is one of seven in a line of Boilermaker Specials reaching back to 1940. This little baby goes to all Purdue home and away football games and can drive up to 75mph. The Reamer Club offers Free Ride Fridays from 12-3 pm on this legendary mascot during football season so make sure you get your chance this fall!

2. Say hey to Neil Armstrong and John Purdue.

Trevor Mahlmann

Trevor Mahlmann

Purdue is incredibly proud of its beginnings as well as its alumni. John Purdue and Neil Armstrong have their own statues on campus. It is not uncommon to see freshman, seniors and alumni alike having a seat next to these two icons and snapping a picture. Before you graduate, go say hello to the man that made your education at Purdue possible and thank Neil for teaching us all to reach for the stars (literally and metaphorically). 

3. Take a whack at the Big Bass Drum.

Trevor Mahlmann

You can't miss this ten-feet tall percussion beast rolling into Ross-Ade Stadium with the All-American Marching Band and our Boilermaker football team. We've even deemed it the "world's largest drum." There are signatures from former drum crew members on the inside of the drum head, and it has even been signed by celebrities such as Snoop Dogg. This drum also can be spotted at the Indianapolis 500 in a pickup truck being driven around the track. Nothing says game day like hitting this big bass with all you got. Look for a chance to take a swing at history with this beloved Indiana tradition. 

4. Eat at Triple XXX.

Trevor Mahlmann

It's hard to miss this Purdue hotspot with its black and orange paint job. The burgers here are a classic and the root beer is a must-have. You'll find groups of students packing the dining room here daily. Think about stopping here after a lengthy midterm or a rough group project to treat yourself and escape dining hall food for bit. 

5. Go camping at Mackey Arena.

Trevor Mahlmann

Are you a die-hard basketball fan? Be the first in line to get tickets for our 23-time Big 10 champion men's basketball team by camping outside of Mackey Arena. Get a group of friends together and make a night of it! Then join Paint Crew to cheer the Boilermakers on to victory at every game. 

6. Go sledding at Slayter Hill.


When you live in the Midwest, you learn to not only survive, but thrive in the wintertime. Grab some friends and a toboggan when the snow falls on this historic hill. 

7. Avoid walking under the Bell Tower.

Trevor Mahlmann

Purdue legend has it that if you walk underneath the Bell Tower, you won't graduate in four years. Better be safe than sorry and observe this tradition from the get-go. 

8. Do a fountain run. 

For those of you going to #BGR2017, you will most definitely get the chance to do one of these. It essentially involves you running through all of the massive fountains on campus and getting completely soaked. Good times. 

9. Get a den pop. 


You're not truly a Purdue student until you get a den pop. Den pops are a college student's best friend, standing at just 65 cents after tax and allowing an endless combination of sodas to be mixed all in a 32 ounce cup. Go to the Discount Den to take advantage of this sweet deal. 

10. Run in the PASE Nearly Naked Mile.

Spencer Brian

This tradition is pretty self-explanatory. This tradition is run by the Purdue Alumni Student Experience (PASE) in order to raise funds for local charities. Boilermakers strip down to stand up for those in need. There are also costume contests, themes and prizes for participants. Definitely something to try this year. 

11. Cross the tracks. 

Purdue Alumni

When you attend Boiler Gold Rush for orientation, you'll jump across these tracks to signify your journey as a Boilermaker beginning. When you graduate, you cross the other way to show that you finished what you started four years ago — a meaningful tradition for you to cherish in your memories.

As cheesy as traditions can be, they are certainly part of the college tradition. Embrace the cliche and enjoy college for everything it is. Your time at Purdue is the beginning of the rest of your life. Take advantage of every opportunity you can, even the goofy traditions. Can't wait to boiler up with you all this fall! August 14th can't come soon enough. 

Lead Image Credit: Trevor Mahlmann 

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Madalyn Deselem - Purdue University

Madalyn is a freshman at Purdue University studying Biology with Pre-Medical advising with the hopes of becoming a dermatologist. She enjoys her jobs as a barista and a freelance tutor, hammocking in obscure locations, growing succulent plants, singing her heart out on stage, and working out at the gym. She is passionate about philanthropy and making a difference in the realm of mental illness awareness. You can find her on Twitter using the handle @maddie_deselem and on Instagram as @maddie.deselem

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