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A weekly show where knowledge junkies get their fix of trivia-tastic information. This week, John tells us about 40 wacky college traditions!

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Hi I'm John Green, welcome to my salon. This is Mental Floss on YouTube. Did you know that every spring, Cornell University students create a giant dragon. This has been going on since 1901 - back when dragons still lived. And in 2013 the dragon was around 120 feet long. The event is called Dragon Day and once freshman architecture students build the dragon, it's taken for a parade around campus. Anyway, that's the first of many weird college traditions (some official, some unofficial) that I'm going to share with you today.

(Intro)

(0:36) The annual bike race at Indiana University is named the "Little 500" or "Little Five" after the Indianapolis 500. Team of four bicyclists race around a quarter-mile track in relay-style for 200 laps, totaling 50 miles per team. 

Barnard College has an event called the "big sub" in which sub sandwiches are lined up for around 700 feet across campus, and then students eat them. Which reminds me that all of my favorite traditions involve food.

There's a kinetic sculpture at Gustavus Adolphus College in front of the library that reads B-C-A-D and apparently, if you spin it before finals, it will predict your grade. That's all fine and good but what about those of us that are going to fail?

(1:13) Many Princeton University students don't pass through the FitzRandolph gates until their graduation day, because it's supposedly bad luck. There's a similar legend at the University of Georgia, where some students choose to avoid walking through the arches for fear they won't graduate on time.

Speaking of arches, students remain silent while walking through the archway by the journalism school at the University of Missouri-Columbia in memory of journalism. No, I'm just kidding, journalism is still a thing. Thanks, BuzzFeed! No, legend has it that if you aren't silent or at least quiet while walking through, you'll fail your next test.

(1:42) Also, Brown University students walk through the Van Wickle Gates, or campus entrance, once as freshmen and once during graduation. Walking through them more than those two times is considered bad luck. For bastions of intellectualism, there sure is a lot of superstition at our universities. 

The Exorcist was filmed on Georgetown University's campus, and now the movie is screened there every year, and afterwards, students howl at a local cemetery near Healy Hall. The tradition is known as the "Healy Howl". Speaking of cemeteries, Florida State University keeps one outside of its sports complex known as "Sod Cemetery." It doesn't commemorate people, though, there are plaques for Florida State's best football wins, and underneath those plaques are the bunches of turf or grass from those games.

(2:22) There's a three foot-tall cement post on the Roanoke College Campus known as the kicking post. You'll never guess what students do for good luck when they walk by it- they punch it! No, they kick it. Dartmouth College hosts a bonfire every homecoming weekend and freshmen run around the bonfire a certain number of times depending on the year they will graduate- usually around 100 times in recent years. It's nice to know that all these Ivy League universities are so focused on classroom work...

Anyway, 30,000 people a year visit Purdue University's 'Bug Bowl', which features events like cockroach racing and cricket spitting, in which people spit crickets out of their mouths. I know what you're wondering, are the crickets alive? No, no, they're frozen, thankfully. But, still... disgusting.

(3:02) Every October, MIT students do a pumpkin drop off the 21-story high Green Building, the tallest building in Cambridge. Which, by the way, was named after me, noted MIT alum... is an example of a lie. On Ski-Beach Day at Pomona College in California, students ski at Mountain High resort in the morning, then spend the rest of the day at Newport Beach.

At the start of the second semester at Bucknell University every year, freshmen serenade the president with the Alma mater. There's a music festival at Northwestern University known as Armadillo Day or "Dillo Day" for short. It was originally a gathering between Northwestern students from Texas, which explains the name. Fun fact: in 2014, 2Chainz did a concert for "Dillo Day." What's that, you don't think that's a fun fact? You don't like 2Chainz? He has a 'z' on the end of his name! 2Chainz is fantastic! Quick side note, Meredith, who is 2Chainz? What kind of work does he do? ...Apparently he is a musician.

(3:53) During the Californian Institute of Technology's Senior Ditch Day, seniors create complicated architectural puzzles outside their rooms, preventing underclassmen from, like, getting to the doorknob so they can't go in and vandalize senior rooms as they did back in the day. Duke University has some unofficial traditions such as driving backwards around the traffic circle, which sounds very dangerous, and also climbing Baldwin Auditorium, which also sounds very dangerous. 

While entering the University of the South, or Sewanee, people tap their car ceiling, then they do it again as they leave. This is a gesture to the guardian angels that some associate with Sewanee. We don't have a guardian angel here but I like to think that Yoshi watches over us. 

These days, the University of Colorado at Boulder closes its campus on April 20th, a.k.a 4/20. The day used to attract up to 10,000 people who would smoke marijuana on campus. In addition to keeping non-university people out via police tape, police spread a fertilizer that smells like fish on the quad to discourage people from hanging out there. But there is a "Hash Bash" at the University of Michigan that attracts thousands of participants who celebrate marijuana while also rallying for its legalization.

(4:55) Moving on from being stoned to being boned, before you're allowed to call yourself a genuine Iowa State University student, you must kiss under the Campanile, a bell tower that's 110 feet tall. Meredith, what does kissing have to do with being boned? Apparently when used as a verb, bone, uh, has a colloquial meaning. Anyways, speaking of PDA, at Stanford University's "Full Moon on the Quad" event, students gather on the quad and exchange many kisses.

There's a statue of former Yale University president James Dwight Woolsey on campus: some students rub its foot for good luck, but many students don't, because apparently there's another tradition that involves peeing on the foot. Another good luck statue can be found at Texas Christian University where you're supposed to rub the nose of the 1,200 pound horned frog.

(5:38) The night before finals, Carleton College students all scream at the same time, which they call the primal scream. Here you see the primal scream as demonstrated by Domo. UCLA has a similar tradition called the Midnight Yell, but it occurs every night of finals week at midnight. 

Virginia Tech has a huge snowball fight every year called the Cadet vs Civilian snowball fight in honor of back when the school consisted only of Reserve Officer Training Corps male students. Every year, Reed College celebrates the 7th Annual Nitrogen Day, because Nitrogen is 7th on the periodic table. Apparently, the school thinks that nitrogen doesn't get enough attention, so they have a festival on its behalf. 

(6:13) Emory University has an unofficial mascot, a person dressed up like a lab skeleton named Dooley and every spring during Dooley's Week he wanders around campus. Dooley was once kidnapped by students from Georgia Tech so now students dressed like security guards accompany Dooley everywhere he goes.

Liquid Latex is an annual dance show at Brandeis University, where all student performers wear full body paint. It originated in 2000 with a body art fashion show, and has grown from there. Every year during the week that Ohio State University plays Michigan, thousands of OSU students jump into Mirror Lake. Why? To celebrate?

Every spring, Clark University gets an unexpected day off called "Spree Day" and in 2013 the day was almost cancelled because of concern about binge drinking. Now Mental Floss viewers, being an upstanding sort, probably don't know about this, but binge drinking is a bit of a problem on American college campuses. Anyway, Clark University students protested via email and social media, they even arranged a sit-in, and their beloved Spree Day was reinstated.

(7:13) The University of Virginia has a streaking tradition which apparently culminates in kissing or touching the butt of a statue of Homer. Similarly, Tufts University has a naked quad run tradition, though the university president banned it in 2011, and my Alma mater, Kenyon College had a Naked Mile Run. I've just been informed that in fact Kenyon did not have a Naked Mile Run tradition, that's just something that I happened to do my sophomore year.

If you're a student of Occidental College, you might get thrown into the Gilman fountain on your birthday. There's a statue of Athena on the Bryn Mawr College campus where students leave offerings like jewelry and poems before tests (we left this gnome an offering of googly eyes). If a couple who met at Murray State University goes on to get married, it's tradition that they return to campus and nail a shoe to a tree on the quad known as the Shoe Tree.

(7:57) And finally, I return to my salon to tell you that it is considered good luck at the University of Texas at Austin to see an albino squirrel before an exam. The albino squirrels on campus even inspired the students to create the Albino Squirrel Preservation society in 2001.

Thanks for watching Mental Floss here on YouTube, which is made with the help of all of these nice people. Every week, we endeavor to answer one of your mind-blowing questions. This week's question comes from R.S. Arete who asks, "Did Italians really invent pizza?"

Yes. The term pizza first appeared in a text from the southern Italian town Gaeta in 997 CE, and it says that a villager has to give the bishop 12 pizzas every Christmas Day and every Easter. But those pizzas could not have possibly involved tomatoes, because tomatoes are a new-world crop which didn't come to Europe until, like, the 16th century. The modern pizza was invented in Naples, though.

If you have a mind-blowing question you'd like answered, please leave it in comments below. Thank you again for watching, and as we say in my hometown, Don't Forget to Be Awesome.