Celebrating Tradition

Gettysburg College, much like the town of Gettysburg itself, is a place that thrives on history and tradition.  There are many more campus customs you will learn about throughout your time as a Gettysburg College student, below is a list of the traditions sponsored by the Office of Student Activities & First-Year Programs.

Alumni Mentor Retreat: Organized by the Garthwait Leadership Center, this annual leadership experience is geared towards seniors. The participants reflect on their different leadership experiences at Gettysburg through in-depth conversations with successful Gettysburg alumni. This retreat provides students with the opportunity to identify ways to apply the skills they have learned in college and discover how these skills can help them achieve success in their future.

Emerging Leaders Retreat: This retreat, sponsored by the Garthwait Leadership Center, is designed for first-year and sophomore students who are interested in developing and increasing their leadership skills and knowledge. The retreat takes place at an off-campus location and provides each student with an enriching learning experience, regardless of whether or not you hold a formal leadership position.

Experience Gettysburg: This relatively new tradition takes place on the Saturday evening of Orientation. The new students, along with their orientation leaders, walk to the Majestic Theatre to hear accounts from current students and alumni about their individual experiences at Gettysburg College. This is a great way for the first-year and transfer students to learn about all the different opportunities the college has to offer and discover the many ways in which they can get involved.

Fall Concert: Each fall the Concerts committee of the Campus Activities Board hosts the fall concert. Preparations for the concert begin almost a year in advance and the performer is always announced at Oceanfest. Past musical guests include Jack's Mannequin, Augustana, Hello Goodbye, Guster, and Maroon 5.

First-Year Walk: Each year on the Thursday of Orientation, the members of the Gettysburg College community walk the half-mile to the National Cemetery to hear the Gettysburg Address. This tradition commemorates the same journey taken by college students and community members in 1863 to hear the famous speech by President Lincoln.

Oceanfest: During this fall tradition, Servo closes for the night and the entire campus enjoys fresh seafood and other tasty treats in the Ballroom.

Opening Convocation: After a hectic morning which consists of moving in and meeting their orientation groups, the new students and their families are invited to attend Opening Convocation. This ceremony, which marks the official matriculation of the incoming first-year and transfer students, includes brief remarks from the Dean of Students, the Director of Admissions, members of faculty, the Student Orientation Coordinator, and the President of the college.

Snowball: In the midwinter, students attend Snowball. This event provides the opportunity to dress up and dance the night away to the sound of the campus's jazz band.

Springfest: This popular tradition is organized by the Campus Activities Board. It begins on a Thursday in the late spring and consists of games, barbeques, and a Thursday evening concert and a Saturday afternoon concert on Stine Lake. Each Springfest weekend has a theme that the activities are geared towards.