The Ivy League Schools are among the best and most prestigious institutions of learning in the world. It’s hard to go anywhere in the world and meet someone who hasn’t heard of Harvard, Princeton, or Stanford. Four of the Ivies are listed in Forbes’ top American colleges of 2017, and with good reason – in addition to academic excellence, all the Ivy League schools enjoy worldwide networks of successful alumni, making it far easier for graduates to gain ground in their chosen careers.
And yet, there are some surprising things about the Ivies that a lot of people don’t know. Here are five things you didn’t know about Ivy League schools.
Harvard’s Hip Hop Archive
It may seem surprising that Harvard has a hip-hop archive, but the Harvard Hip Hop Archive and Research Institute was established fifteen years ago and is still going strong. The institute makes it a point to research old, new and emerging trends and music in hip hop, and provide an invaluable resource to anyone interested in this important tradition of American and African-American music and history.
Brown’s Halloween Concerts
Every year, Brown University celebrates Halloween with a concert of spooky music. Both performers and attendees come in costume, and the concert takes place at midnight (naturally). The concert consists of solely spooky organ music, and this glorious and macabre musical tradition at Brown has persisted for more than two decades.
Yale’s Unreadable Manuscript
The Voynich Manuscript, dating from the fifteenth century, is housed in Yale’s considerable rare book and manuscript archive. Reputed to be “the most mysterious manuscript in the world,” the Voynich has been the subject of intense academic and personal scrutiny for centuries now – and to date, not a single linguist, mathematician, or decipherer has been able to figure out what’s written on it. Two hundred and forty pages long, the Voynich will likely remain an object of mystery for many years to come.
Cornell’s Black Fraternity
Cornell was the first university anywhere to break the long-standing restriction on African-American students joining fraternities or sororities, introducing Alpha Phi Alpha in 1906. An all-black fraternity in the beginning, the fraternity now has more than four hundred chapters and admits male members of every ethnicity.
Columbia’s Marching Band Exam Prep
At Columbia, “Orgo Night” consists of the university’s marching band putting on an hour-long show in the university library, complete with jokes and inspiring music. The students of Columbia largely seem to find this a wonderfully relaxing experience, and the tradition of Orgo Night has persisted for more than five decades.
They say that the most brilliant minds come up with the most eccentric – and brilliant ideas. This is very much evident in these Ivy traditions, among the many others that exist throughout the Ivies. If you are bound for an Ivy League college this year, keep an eye out for these and many other unusual and awe-inspiring traditions – and maybe suggest a few of your own!