Undie Run at Chapman University (College Traditions)


Collector: “Do you participate in any specific rituals or festivals?”

Informant: “At Chapman, we have Undie Run the Wednesday night before finals week. Everyone meets up in the Piazza in like, just underwear or a bathing suit, like no clothes. I think it’s at like 12 o’clock, or 10– I don’t know I didn’t do it last semester—and everyone just runs around campus and the outskirts, and in the circle. It’s just Chapman students and there’s some faculty to supervise.”

Collector: “Why does this tradition take place?”

Informant: “To get drunk and let loose before finals. People drink at a pregame, not during the run.” 


The informant is a female undergraduate student at Chapman University. The Piazza is a circular courtyard at the center of campus where many students gather for special events.


This college tradition provides insight into American student culture and what they define as “letting go”– Indulging in alcohol, stripping into undergarments, and doing wild activities with comrades. The practice of the tradition signifies that these expressions are not appropriate for everyday life. This activity takes place at Midnight, a liminal time between day and night, almost like a magic hour where students don’t have to present themselves as polished and collegiate. A rebellious version of themselves can run wild at night but not in the day.