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Haverford College
Frosh Antics at the Duck Pond

Customs: History

Customs is arguably Haverford's oldest tradition. Its roots reach back to the mid-1800s when upperclassmen spontaneously began keeping the peace in Barclay, the College's first dorm, by quieting the rowdy underclassmen and teaching the new students the 'customs' of the College. At that time, this usually took the form of tossing the frosh head-first into the Duck Pond.

The modern program is, however, above such draconian "welcoming" tactics and now seeks to provide the support and resources that entering students need to make a smooth transition from high school to college life at Haverford. What's more, Customs is now a year-long program that is supported by about 200 upperclass students who volunteer from move-in day to the last day of finals in the spring – leading group discussions, taking trips into Philadelphia, explaining and exploring the academic and social Honor Codes, working together on community service projects, supporting students when issues arise, and helping to building community and friendships.