13 Myths and Traditions of Ohio State

Ohio State is home to many traditions, stories and myths. In this post (coinciding with the 13th day of orientation), I will share a bit of this “Buckeye Spirit” as I explain 13 of my favorite Ohio State myths and traditions!

1. The Hopkins handpaint

Hopkins Hall is home to one of my favorite ghost stories. According to the story, a girl was stuck in an elevator and while struggling to get out she left her handprints all over the elevator doors. Although they say she safely made it out, on the left side of the building you can supposedly see her handprint, a symbol of her struggle inside. Legend has it that no matter how many times someone tries to remove this print it always reemerges.

2. Oval Beach

The Oval (known by many as “Oval beach”), the grassy field on central campus, is a great place to socialize and relax when the weather is favorable. Make sure you have a beach towel ready for those warm days of spring when this local paradise comes to life with activity.


3. Mirror Lake tug of war

Historically, Ohio State’s freshman and sophomore classes had a tug of war competition stretching over Mirror Lake every year. (One may assume the losers had wished that had brought a change of clothes!) Today however, students no longer partake in this tradition.

 4. Welcome Week concert

Before classes start in the fall, the Ohio Union Activities Board organizes a concert. During the past two years, big-name artists such as Krewella, Lady Antebellum, One Republic, 2 Chainz and Big Sean have preformed. In my opinion, the best part about this concert is that you do not have to purchase the tickets, as a student you simply just show up!


 5. Love stories

Ohio State has many traditions rooted in love. Some include a classic first date at Mirror Lake, a marriage proposal through the Hayes Hall whispering arch or going down the Oval long walk with your partner (granted, legend has it that no one can cross your path and the bells of Orton Tower must be ringing in order for “your love to last forever”). Whatever the circumstances, chances are you can find opportunities for romance here at Ohio State!

6. Light up the Lake

Before the holiday season starts in the fall, Ohio Staters Inc. decorates the trees of Mirror Lake with beautiful holiday lights. Before you graduate, be sure to grab your friends and attend this incredible event.

 7. Afro Duck

The myth, the legend, the duck. Ohio State’s Afro Duck has become a campus celebrity. Some hypothesize that Afro Duck has a tumor, while others claim that its afro is a symbol marking his “alpha” status among his fellow ducks. The truth is though that Afro Duck is part of the crested mallard species. Make sure to follow him on twitter @OSUafroduck to stay up to date on his tweets!



8. Pomerene pool

Despite the common misconception, Pomerene Hall no longer has an indoor pool. Once known as the “Women’s Union,” Pomerene Hall was reserved for Ohio State’s female students and included a gymnasium, lounge and pool.

9. Beat *ichigan Week

During the week leading up the The Game, students rally together and create various events to show school spirit. For example, students use red tape to cross out all of the letter Ms on campus buildings and signs in order to contest our rival, That Team Up North.

10. Ohio State only cares for football

False! Although many students rally behind their football team, Ohio State is not just its football team. The university is full of opportunities for excitement, regardless of whether you care for sports or football! Use our climbing wall, experience downtown Columbus, visit the cartoon museum or see the giant sloth skeleton in Orton Hall to find your own avenue of excitement!

11. We love the word Ohio

We don’t care if it’s Script Ohio on the field, singing “Carmen Ohio” throughout the year or taking an O-H-I-O picture with your newest friends, we love any excuse to say Ohio. Eventually, when you hear someone call, “O-H!” you may find it second nature to holler back, “I-O!”


12. Orton bell tower

Want a different view of Orton Hall? Ohio Staters Inc. can actually take you to see inside the bell tower. Just register your group through their website and they’ll make arrangements to take you to the top!

13. Buckeyes are only in Ohio

This is a myth! It turns out that Ohio State has one of the largest alumni networks in the country. This becomes apparent when you travel out of state. For many international travelers wearing Buckeye gear, out of nowhere random people have noticed their attire and responded to “the silent call of Buckeye love” by signaling O-H with their arms.

For me, it is the greatest feeling in the world to know that the Ohio State family stretches across the world and that I am never far from my Buckeye family.

Make sure to check us out on Friday when Sumedha lists The Freshman 15: The Fifteen Things You Should Eat Around Campus.