5 College Thanksgiving Traditions

Some campuses use the national holiday to promote school spirit, unity, and spirituality.

By + More

The 2.6-mile run through campus has traditionally been held the week before Thanksgiving break, and in anticipation of the in-state rivalry football game against Lafayette College, for the past 55 years, notes Jane Josephson, director of intramural sports and recreation at Lehigh.

The school of nearly 4,800 students sees between 400 and 600 participants each year which, notes Josephson, is one of the "biggest events participation wise" for the school.

"It's one of the most fun traditions we have," Sara Wing, a senior at Lehigh who has participated in the past three Trots, says. "It's just a culmination of all the excitement and all the traditions we have on campus during the fall season."

[Use these holiday travel tips for college students.]

5. March to earn a day off: A victory for Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania against their football rivals at Albright College means more than just bragging rights for students: It also means an extra day of Thanksgiving break.

Known as the March to Kreiderheim, the tradition, which spans more than 50 years, is a group walk led by the football team to Kreiderheim—the home of the college president—where the student body formally petitions to have the day before Thanksgiving off to celebrate the victory.

This year, a group of about 450 students—roughly a quarter of the school's enrollment—marched to the president's front yard in a peaceful fashion, notes Stephen MacDonald, Lebanon Valley president.

"This tradition is one of the best," Cory Homer, a senior at LVC and a captain on the football team, says. "It's really a family activity because it brings together the athletes and the non-athletes."

And while the day before Thanksgiving is only a half day for students, MacDonald says he would never consider breaking tradition by requiring students to attend class.

"Presidents aren't always the smartest people ... but none of them would be dumb enough to say 'no,'" he acknowledges. "When I see 450 students on my lawn requesting something like that, it doesn't take a lot of deliberation to come up with the right answer."

Searching for a college? Get our complete rankings of Best Colleges.