Haverford's history is steeped in many wonderful traditions, many of which are still alive today!
The oldest, and probably the most pervasive influence at Haverford, comes from the College's Quaker roots. Many of us explore concepts of consensus, community, social justice and collaboration during our time at Haverford, while others might dig deeper into understanding the Quaker tradition by taking a course, attending Quaker Meetings, or spending time doing research in the Quaker Collection.
Each year, 'Fords look forward to the myriad traditional events such the SC Speaker Series; Screw Your Roommate; Snowball and Sun Dances; frequent A Cappella Concerts; Pinwheel Day; the annual end-of-year weekend-long celebration called Haverfest; and, most importantly, Fall and Spring Plenary!
Plenary provides a forum for student opinion and action for all members of the Students' Association. In this forum, the Honor Code, the Alcohol Policy, and the Students' Association Constitution are all evaluated and improved upon, when deemed necessary. Campus initiatives such as the ExCo program and the Committee for Environmental Responsibility found their roots in a Plenary session.
Another Haverford tradition still alive and well today is a commitment to experiential learning through community service. Years ago, when the College had an academic curriculum focused on the seven dimensions of a Haverford education, an Eighth Dimension was added: service learning. Though the seven dimensions of a Haverford education no longer exist as the guiding core curriculum, Eighth Dimension (better known today as 8D) is still the office on campus responsible for coordinating student-lead service initiatives, projects, and programs through which students can “burst the bubble” and get involved with the greater Philadelphia-Area community.
Still, many of the College traditions are packed into Customs Week. Over time, the many traditions associated with Customs Week have changed (first-year students are no longer flung head-first into the Duck Pond), but the core principles and nature of this week remain the same. For instance, each class at Haverford has a tree planted in the Arboretum that will grow with them over the years. First-year students also enjoy a visit to the traditional Quaker Meeting House, in which they are formally introduced to the Honor Code. And, during Customs Week, there are a number of social activities that will surely never be forgotten: Dorm Olympics, the SupaFun Dance, and the first a cappella concert of the academic year that hosts all nine groups! (Did we mention that a cappella is a tradition at Haverford?!).
Lastly, in addition to the typical graduation requirements of most higher education institutions, Haverford's student body also has a few 'unofficial' graduation requirements. Although there are many divergent opinions of the exact number and the degree of daring, the commonly agreed upon activities include swimming in the Duck Pond and spending one full night in Magill Library (ask your Customs People if there are any other unofficial graduation requirements that have evolved over the years).