Sweet Briar’s traditions are the heart and soul of the campus. As the senior class president, an admissions ambassador and Chung Mung president, I have been fortunate enough to spend the last three years immersed in the traditions of Sweet Briar. They connect us to the school’s vibrant history and build community. Below are a few of my favorites.
The Adopt-a-Vixen program is a new Sweet Briar tradition. Alumnae sign up to “adopt” a current student and become pen pals — writing letters to their Vixen and spoiling them with thoughtful gifts. Everything from bouquets of flowers, sweets from local bakeries, personalized bags and anything with pink, green and Vixens can be expected. One of my favorite aspects of this program is hearing stories from alumnae about their time here and sharing our experience with women who have been down our path.
A longtime Sweet Briar favorite, Step Singing brings the student body together for a light-hearted night of singing, joking and deep-rooted tradition. In addition to the “Sweet Briar Song,” “Holla Holla,” “Today” and “We Won’t Grow Up” — songs sung by each class at Step Singing every year — classes are invited to write and perform songs to poke fun at their rival class and show admiration for their sister class. Seniors wear decorated robes passed down from generations and are permitted to sit on the “Golden Stairs,” a tradition in and of itself.
While many colleges have their own interpretations of a Founder’s Day, we like to think Sweet Briar’s Founders’ Day has them all beat. The theme of the weekend is celebration, and alumnae visit from all over to join the festivities. It’s called Founders’ Day, but the event encompasses an entire weekend. To kick it off, students follow a bagpiper, daisies in hand, up to Monument Hill, where they pay respect to the founders of the College at their final resting place at the top of the hill overlooking campus. The annual Founders’ Day Dance occurs that weekend as well, where the community comes together for live music to celebrate Sweet Briar’s founding.
Christmas Tree Lighting
The riding center’s beloved horses have their own part in this Sweet Briar tradition. Riding Council members are given the opportunity to adorn their favorite steed with holly, lights and bells, and ride down the quad in the center of campus to greet the community as the sun sets. The Sweet Briar choir leads carols as a tree is lit in the center of the quad.
During freshman orientation, faculty members host dinners for students, giving them a warm introduction to Sweet Briar. This tradition comes full circle as each department/program invites seniors with a focus in their area to a celebratory dinner before graduation.
These are just five of my favorite traditions among many that take place here. The best way to learn more about our traditions is to see for yourself by planning a visit!
Annabeth Griffin is a philosophy and economics double major and mathematics minor from Dallas, Texas. She can be seen all over campus as the president of the Class of 2018, an IHSA riding team member, the Ethics Bowl team captain, a philosophy subject tutor, a student admissions ambassador and president of the Chung Mungs.