Alpha Rho Upsilon - Activities and Traditions

Activities and Traditions

Annual ARU activities and traditions included:

  • Work Week, the week prior to the start of a new school year, when fraternity members arrived early to clean and prep the house for Rush Week.
  • Rush Week, the week before college classes began, when all fraternities sought new members from the incoming freshman class by holding open-invitation parties at their houses. Selected freshmen were invited to join a fraternity by receiving "bids" from its underclassmen, by consent of the entire membership.
  • Drop Night, when fraternities held dress-up banquets to welcome new members, who would join by showing up at the fraternity they had chosen.
  • Hell Night, ARU's new-member initiation, which included a comically spooky ritual in which each new member was asked questions about why they joined ARU, what they planned to contribute to it, etc.
  • Sacrifice of the Virgin Pumpkin, a purification ceremony (that some may have viewed as a Halloween costume parade around campus). At the high point of the event, a senior class member designated as "High Priest", chosen by his predecessor, ritually sacrificed the Virgin Pumpkin - one not tainted by commercialism and procured illicitly - by casting it from the fraternity house's front, second story balcony onto the granite carriage step (removed during renovation) adjacent to Maine Street, smashing the Pumpkin into pieces. This was followed by a sherry reception (Harvey's Bristol Cream). The rite was started in reaction to a notorious event that occurred in the House in the mid-1960s, which almost caused the House to be closed. It was meant to ward off the evils that almost destroyed the house. In 1971, a more formal hymn for the Sacrifice was composed by a musical brother: "Holy and pure virgin pumpkin, sacred we follow thee. Holy and pure virgin pumpkin, sacred we follow thee. Regal, undefiled, beauty in satin clad, Blessed vegetable in the ninth year of the bag." (The"ninth year of the bag" would indicate that the Sacrifice dated back to 1962; presumably, the hymn composer had done some research.)
  • The Art Exhibit, where members showed off their creations. A team of judges picked a winner.
  • Beethoven's Birthday, an interfaith winter holiday party for members and invited guests, which included a "Secret Santa" gift exchange. The event originally started as a celebration of the founding of the House, which occurred close to Beethoven's Birthday.
  • Mr. ARU, a talent contest where selected contestants presented comic acts, song-and-dance acts, etc., vying for the "Mr. ARU" and "Mr. Congeniality" prizes.
  • The Prom, a dance for members and their in-house or guest dates.
  • Les Biens, This was the name of ARU's intra-fraternity teams in the early 1970s. It was meant as a parody of Les Owls from Psi U. Of course, it merely looked like it would translate from French to "The Goods".
  • The Green Hornet Construction Company, on-campus construction project on May 4 akin to MIT's "hacking" tradition. It evolved from something spontaneous to a more formal project to commemorate some key event on campus at the time. The first project in 1965 was the construction of a temple using smudge pot lanterns and the granite curb stones to be placed along Twelve Rod Road now named Park Row. As it evolved, the projects were sometimes pre-assembled in the confines of the fraternity house. In the dead of night and as silently as possible, construction took place on the Quad. At completion, the Company retreated to the fraternity house "buzzing" in unison. Then, with the aid of liquid refreshment, the Bill was written for submission to the Dean of the College. By agreement with the Dean circa 1969, the project could stand for one day and was dissassembled by the Company during the next night. Some of the projects were:-1970, The Lake Bowdoin Recreation Facility was constructed to take advantage of the spring flooding of the quad, -1971, Piippo Hall, The first newly constructed women's dormitory named after Mrs. Piippo, the ubiquitous administrative secretary. -1973, Will Hughes Pre-Med Memorial Cemetery, to commemorate the failure of many promising freshmen in an intro science class. The "Green Hornet Society" at contemporary Bowdoin continues the Green Hornet Construction Company's tradition albeit with costumed revelers and in the light of day.
  • Various campus-wide parties and coffeehouses, some in conjunction with Bowdoin's annual Parents' Day, Winter's Weekend and Ivies Weekend celebrations.
  • Ralph Adolph (or Adolf), the fictitious ARU Brother whose home address was 727&1/2(?) Boylston Street, Boston. Ralph received magazines to which the fraternity subscribed. He also became the President of the Green Hornet Construction Company.
  • ARU Flyers, a derogatory nickname embraced by ARUs in the late 60's-early 70's. A flyer was defined by one brother of the era as "one whose feet are firmly planted in mid-air".
  • The ARU Runway, annually the tarmacked walkway across the park separating Twelve Rod Road from Maine Street that led to ARU was painted for the ARU Flyers landing benefit as they returned to the fraternity house.
  • Sock-a-Nuck's Heroes of the Week, in the early 1970s, two fraternity brothers recognized people (or things) who demonstrated valor (or not).
  • Senior Night, an end-of-the-year banquet where the graduating members received roasts from underclassmen and gave farewell speeches. Awards presented at the banquet included: Freshman of the Year, determined by the Executive Board; Outstanding Junior, chosen by the senior class; the Kitchen Help Award, given by the Steward; the Trashmouth Award, for creativity in the use of expletives; and the Log Keeper's award, for the member mentioned the most often (some years, the least often) in Log Keeper's reports at house meetings.

ARU also established a college-wide award, the James Bowdoin Cup, given annually to a distinguished scholar-athlete at the school.

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