L was born and raised in Sun Valley, Idaho. She is 20 years old and moved to Los Angeles to attend school at UCLA; she is now a sophomore.
The context of this piece was at a little coffee shop at UCLA. I was visiting my best friend for the weekend. I asked her if she had any folklore to share with me and she excitedly told me all about a special ritual that UCLA partakes in every year.
“I mean at UCLA there’s a fountain that you’re supposed to get “bruinized” at where you touch the water once and say some crazy chant and you’re not allowed to touch the water again until after you take your last final. Otherwise you won’t graduate in 4 years…during freshmen orientation you’re supposed to wade in or touch the water. If you touch it again before your last final as a senior it’ll add an extra quarter before you graduate. After you take your last final people usually go and swim in it to celebrate.”
UCLA hired Howard Troller to design a foundation on their campus; he used this as an opportunity to create something that was architecturally different from other fountains that “just squirt water into the air.” He designed an inverted fountain that flows inward into a large bed of rocks (handpicked by Troller himself.) Troller finished the fountain on March 18, 1968 and ever since, the fountain has been the location where UCLA students host one of their biggest traditions. During freshman orientation, freshmen are “initiated” by touching the water. They are then told to not touch the water again until they graduate; if they touch it before, it is said to be a bad omen – it may even add an extra quarter to their academic career.