Fordham University/University of Southern California
Army ROTC, EMT, Social Worker
Military Social Work
24 April 2011
USC senior tradition – Fountain Run
“So the Senior Fountain Run is a tradition at USC for graduating Seniors. It usually takes place on the night of the last Thursday of class. Basically, all Seniors gather at their friends’ places or on the row and pre game. After getting drunk, and waiting till it’s late enough, everybody taking part starts making their way to campus. People usually are dressed in swimsuits or crazy costumes, and carry some form of alcohol with them. I even saw one girl carrying an intertube and a blow up shark. As you get closer to campus, more and more people start gathering together. By the time we got to campus, we had a group of around 50 drunk people who were just yelling and running in the middle of the street. Basically, you run around and jump in all the fountains around the SC campus and drink at every fountain. There’s something like over 20 fountains, so it takes a little time to get them all. Some of them are even really hard to find.”
HS explained that first and foremost, the Fountain run is a celebration of senior hood and the impending graduation from college. It serves as a time when every Senior can get together and have a good time. As she put it, “there are no athletes, no sorority girls, no engineers, and no geeks. Everybody is celebrating the two things they have in common: being a Senior at USC, and being close to graduation.” HS explains that it is a period of time when it’s okay for people to get a little crazy. As a graduate student, HS said she learned about the Fountain run from Senior’s in the ROTC program with her. She explained that it had been a hot topic for several days between Seniors she met. During the Run she explains that someone identified her as a none graduating individual and questioned her validity of taking part. HS explained that as a Senior at Fordham University, her school didn’t have an event like this and she felt that she missed out.
As a Senior graduating this semester from USC, I did partake in the Fountain Run. I concur with the observations of the Fountain Run that HS made. As an undergraduate at USC, I had learned about the Fountain Run my Freshman year. While writing a paper, I heard a lot of screaming and running outside my window. Looking, I saw a lot of drunken people jumping in the fountains. For a Senior at USC, the fountain run is a pretty big deal. I had heard individuals talking about it more than a week in advance. Of the people I asked, no one knew when the fountain run started. Coordinating the run was conducted primarily through Facebook. This year was unique in that the fountain run happened a week earlier than usual. The reason was that the campus was preparing for the Book Fair, and the administration warned students ahead of time. This combined with the fact that DPS officers and police officers made little effort to stop the run, shows the administration saw the inevitability of this event and made efforts to stop Senior from destroying the tents being set up. For Seniors, as a group, the fountain run is a unique tradition at USC that marks someone as a Trojan and a Senior, who is having their last hurrah. While other students from other years take part, they are largely left alone. Though this could be because most of the people there are too drunk and having too much fun to care. Below is a hyperlink of a Fountain Run from a prior year. In it you can see that people are chanting, and jumping around celebrating.