Many well-known traditions at the University of Denver, such as Homecoming and May Days, are nearly as old as the University itself and have stood the test of time. Throughout the University’s first 150 years, there have been other customs that did not have the same staying power.
The Class of 1916 presented the Senior Fence to the University at Commencement. It was meant to start a tradition on campus — of which there were very few at the time — but the Senior Fence had difficulty gaining momentum. The fence was meant for seniors only, though underclassmen were permitted to sit or lean on the fence between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m. Both the Clarion and the Kynewisbok report that the fence was rarely used or defended against underclassmen use. Years later, students began painting the fence as a prank, which then became its own rebellious tradition.
Beginning in 1926, DU students showed support for the football team by adopting a common turn-of-the-century tradition of parading through the streets, invading hotels and theaters — all while wearing pajamas. The nightshirt parade typically took place on the eve of a big football game. This tradition ended with the dissolution of the DU football team.
Freshman Beanies & Flag Rush
Between the 1910s and 1970s, each incoming freshman was expected to wear a red and yellow beanie to build school spirit and class unity, and so that upperclassmen could identify them. Not surprisingly, freshmen were not too fond of this rite of passage; in the early years they battled the sophomores in the annual Flag Rush, a race and fight to remove the sophomore flag from a flagpole and replace it with a freshman flag. The winner decided whether freshmen had to wear their beanies all year or only for fall quarter.