Informant CA, a current undergraduate student at Auburn University at the time of this collection, described a longstanding and well-known superstition shared amongst the student population at Auburn.
According to CA, the superstition is as follows:
The Auburn University seal can be seen embedded into the bricks in the ground in front of Langdon Hall on campus (see photo). If a student walks on or across the seal at any point during their time at Auburn University, it is believed that the student will not graduate in four years and will marry someone from the University of Alabama (the school’s biggest rival). The only way the student can undo/reverse this is to jump and swim in the fountain in front president’s mansion at midnight on February 29th (leap day).
CA went on to explain the seriousness of this superstition. Auburn students are careful to walk around the seal on their way to or from classes/activities. According to CA, students will gather in groups to go to the fountain at the president’s mansion on February 29th in hopes to reverse their actions. Extra campus security is said to be stationed at the president’s mansion on February 29th to avert any disorderly conduct that might arise because of this superstition.
As a social undergraduate student at Auburn University, informant CA is well aware of this superstition and adheres accordingly. While the informant has never walked on/across the seal themself, they have a friend who did. The informant’s friend, an Auburn student, and believer of this superstition participated in this superstitious belief by swimming in the president’s fountain at midnight once February 29th came around.
While I do not attend Auburn University myself, I believe that this superstition works to create the student community and culture at Auburn University. While all colleges are composed of unique communities, I feel that this superstition is evidence of the lively and spirited nature of Auburn University’s campus culture. This superstition is one of many at Auburn University – all of which are actively working to unite its student body. After hearing about this superstition, I am lead to believe that community is highly valued at Auburn University… so much that one would rather humiliate themselves and risk getting into trouble than get “left behind” by not graduating with their friends/class. This tradition also leads me to believe that the value and importance of the Auburn community are carried on after students graduate as well. If you were to walk across the seal and marry someone that attended the University of Alabama, it is almost as if you have broken ties with your Auburn community. To ensure that you stay on good terms and connected to the Auburn community after graduation, you are encouraged to adopt this superstition as a belief as an undergraduate.