My informant is a student USC and a member of the Greek community. I asked him if he had any initiation stories or customs on the row or in his fraternity. He chose to tell me about the Senior Fountain Run closely approaching.
Informant: The Senior Fountain Run happens every year at USC and it’s literally the entire Senior class running around the campus at night, drunk, and jumping in every fountain.
Me: Why do you think this became a tradition?
Informant: I couldn’t tell you the real reason but its kind of one of those things I have always wanted to and the University lets us do it right before we leave. I mean we have like 20 fountains around campus that I walk by everyday, how could I not want to jump in?
Me: Ya makes sense, especially during these hot Spring days. What are you looking forward to most, aside from finally jumping in those fountains of course.
Informant: Being drunk while I do it, haha, but I guess just seeing everyone that I haven’t seen in a long time, like friends from the dorms freshman year that I may not see anymore. Probably gonna be a really nostalgic moment.
The fountain run tradition is one that has been long standing at USC and for good reason. There is a non-spoken agreement between the students and staff that they can break the rules just this once to do something they have always wanted. Its almost a gratuitous gesture by the University by thanking them and effectively saying, “you are about to leave, so we’ll bend the rules.” The tradition certainly says a lot about the importance of the fountains to the students as well.