BSC Folklore

Senior Bell Ringing

Senior Bell Ringing

Description:

After a senior completes his/her final class at BSC, s/he climbs the stairwell to the roof of the Humanities Center (formerly Phillips Science) to ring the bell.

Source:

Anyone within earshot since 2001.

Commentary:

Many colleges have the tradition of bell ringing to mark important occasions. Some of these rituals are more formalized and institutionalized than others. At Agnes Scott, for example, seniors ring a bell when they receive their first job offer or graduate school acceptance; the ringing is permitted on Fridays at noon.

At the College of William & Mary, graduating seniors queue up on the academic quad to ring the Wren Bell on the last day of classes. They file through the archway that divides the building, purportedly designed by Christopher Wren, where each rings the bell and crosses to the other side.

The custom at BSC seems more spontaneous and adventuresome as the soon-to-be-former student climbs alone the unfamiliar stairs to the roof. Assuming the student has never been to this rooftop, the climb provides a moment of disorientation, followed by exhilaration, as s/he passes into an unfamiliar part of a familiar building.

Questions

  • We understand that this bell ringing has returned to the college after a long absence. In what years was the custom observed?
  • Are there other customs that seniors repeat year after year? Pranks? Gatherings?

Your thoughts?

Email your comments, corrections, or additions to tcowan@bsc.edu.

Bibliography

"Traditions." Student Activities home page. Bryn Mawr College.
http://www.brynmawr.edu/activities/traditions.shtml

"Ringing the Bell." Student Life home page. Agnes Scott College.
http://www.agnesscott.edu/studentlife/p_bellringing.asp