College Traditions

  • Founders’ Day — A longstanding College tradition, Founders’ Day is held at the end of September. Seniors wear their graduation robes for the first time, while all other students traditionally dress in white attire. Students, faculty and staff participate in services at both the Plantation Burial Ground and Monument Hill to pay respect to the College’s founders.
  • Opening Convocation — Every year in August, Sweet Briar holds a convocation to mark the official start of the academic year. Opening Convocation is usually followed by ice cream.

Student Traditions

  • Big Sister/Little Sister — Just after arriving on campus, each first-year has the chance to meet with a junior assigned to her as a “Big” (sister). The role of a Big is to help their Little acclimate to college life and answer any questions the first-year may have about Sweet Briar.
  • Class Ring — The Sweet Briar class ring is a pinky ring worn on the left hand. Engraved on the ring is the Sweet Briar seal. If a student becomes engaged or married, they switch the ring to their right hand. While at Sweet Briar, the student wears the ring with the chapel pointing inward towards their heart. Once away from Sweet Briar, the graduate turns the ring around so the chapel is pointing away. 
  • First-Year Hitching Post — The hitching post located next to the bell tower is defended by the first-years during the rock and hitching post fight. It is periodically painted by campus organizations.
  • Hanging of the Banner — At the beginning of each year, a ceremony is held in the Prothro Dining Hall in which the banner for the incoming First-Year class is displayed for the first time among the banners for the other class years.
  • Holla, Holla, Holla — Students sing this song when a person or group on campus has done something noteworthy to celebrate them:

Here’s to (insert name), Holla, holla, holla, nothing you cannot do.
Here’s to (insert name), Holla, holla, holla, nothing you cannot do.
Work for the good and work for the right, always doing something and doing it right.
So here’s to (insert name) Holla, holla, holla, nothing you cannot do.

  • Junior Banquet — At Junior Banquet, juniors receive their class rings and their senior robes. Each junior has a friend write an ode in their honor, and these are read aloud at the banquet.
  • Junior Bench — Only juniors are allowed to use the semi-circular bench located between Randolph Residence Hall and Mills Chapel.
  • Junior Week — During Junior Week, which is the week preceeding Junior Banquet, juniors dress up each day in varying costumes dictated by themes selected by the senior class.
  • Key Game A Senior announces the acceptance of a post-grad job offer by playing the Key Game. The class president calls the seniors together, everyone gathering in a circle, each holding onto a long piece of string. A key is put onto the string and passed around the circle three times. On the third pass around the circle, the student who has received a job grabs the key, then informs the class what their new position entails.
  • Lantern Bearing — Near the end of the year, seniors ask an underclass student to make a “lantern”. The students gather, seniors wearing their graduation robes and under students traditionally in white attire. To represent their four years at Sweet Briar, everyone walks around the quad three times, with a final fourth lap completed only by seniors. The seniors then sit on the Senior Steps while underclass students line the pathway and sing to the seniors, marking the their final Sweet Briar tradition.

  • Ring Game — A variation of the key game to announce the engagement of a member of the senior class. Everyone gathers in a circle, each holding onto a long piece of string. The engagement ring is put onto the string and passed around the circle three times. On the third pass around the circle, the newly engaged student puts on the ring, informing the class of their engagement.

  • Rock and Hitching Post Fight — In a fight to create a mess of the landmark of the other class, a paint war is held, with first-years defending the hitching post and sophomores defending the rock. At the end of the fight, the juniors determine the winner (usually the first-years) by the amount of paint worn by each class.
  • Scream Night — On the night before 12-week exams begin, everyone gathers in the quad to let out their stress in a scream as the bells chime 10 p.m., as well as pick up some study snacks.
  • Scroll Game — A variation on the key and ring games, the scroll game is played to announce one’s acceptance into grad school. A paper scroll is substituted for the key or ring.
  • Secret Sophomores — Throughout the year, seniors receive gift baskets left in Prothro Atrium from an unknown sophomore. At the end of the year, the seniors find out who their secret sophomore is during a senior class/sophomore class party.
  • Senior Doors — The center set of doors to the main Prothro dining hall are for seniors to use only, recalling the traditional entrance of the steps leading into Pannell, which used to be the campus dining hall.
  • Senior Robes — In addition to the robes worn at graduation, seniors also have decorated robes that are passed down each year. Seniors wear these robes once a month on the day of the month that their graduation will occur in May. Before passing down her robe to a Junior at Junior Banquet, Seniors add items to the robe that represent themselves or their time at Sweet Briar such as patches, buttons, nametags, pins or other decorations.
  • Senior Steps — Seniors sit on the front steps of Pannell during Step Singing, recalling their former use as the main entrance into the Refectory, Sweet Briar’s original dining hall.
  • Step Singing — Every fall and spring semester all the classes gather together in Upper Quad while each class sings a teasing or admiring song for each of the other classes and one bragging song of themselves.