3 Fun Friday the 13th College Campus Traditions

Friday, October 13, 2023

An image of a wooden block calendar with Friday the 13th

While Friday the 13th is traditionally associated with superstitions and fears, it has paved the way for some unique college campus traditions. Beyond the folklore, some universities have created their own quirky and spirited traditions that turn this supposedly ominous day into a day of fun. Whether it’s commemorating peculiar professors, engaging in school spirit, or simply reveling in revealing ways, these traditions are just a microcosm of campus life and can give prospective students a great glimpse at the personalities of the schools to which they’re applying. Below are three universities that celebrate Friday the 13th in fun and downright quirky — ways. 

Brown University: Carberry Day 

Friday the 13th is Carberry Day at Brown University, named after the fictitious professor of psychoceramics (the study of cracked pots), Josiah S. Carberry. He was “born” in 1929 in a fake announcement promoting his upcoming lecture. Since then, his legend has grown to include a fictitious family, an assistant who is always being bitten by something that begins with the letter “A,” and several publications under his name. He has also been the subject of numerous articles, including a New York Times piece in 1974 describing him as “the Paul Bunyan of travel.”

Students recognize Professor Carberry for his unique policy requiring attendance only on Friday the 13th and leap days — he, of course, fails to show up — but his popularity may also stem from his many eccentricities, including his geometric system based on a four-dimensional theory and his constant traveling to locales near and far. Cracked pots are placed in the libraries and administrative offices every Friday the 13th and Leap Day to collect donations for the Josiah S. Carberry Fund, which is used to purchase books for the library.

Learn how to get into Brown University.

Colgate University: Colgate Day 

Despite the typical superstitions surrounding Friday the 13th, Colgate University turns it into a day of celebration instead. On every Friday the 13th — not just the ones that fall in spooky season — Colgate Day ignites a global celebration that unites alumni from all corners of the world. It’s a day dedicated to coming together with fellow Colgate friends, proudly donning maroon attire, and expressing school spirit and love for the university through social media.

Rice University: Baker 13 

While the Baker 13 run doesn’t consistently happen on Friday the 13th, the first recorded run was in 1975 by a group of students looking to blow off some steam on Friday the 13th. And this is no ordinary run. Participating Rice students commemorate the tradition by running around campus in nothing but sneakers and shaving cream — and that’s it. But despite how streaking may be frowned upon on most campuses, Baker 13 is a part of Rice’s history. In fact, when the Olympic torch passed through campus prior to the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City, two Baker 13ers were included in the procession.

If any of these Friday the 13th traditions appeal to you, consider writing about them in your college applications! Colleges love hearing what it is specifically that you love about their school, so including traditions that are unique to them is a great way to personalize your supplemental essays. Need help turning your passion into pages? Contact us today to learn how IvyWise’s expert college admissions counselors can help you craft the perfect supplemental essays for the colleges on your list.


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