Tetsudo Offerings (University of Maryland, College Park)
There’s a lot weighing on finals in college, so it’s no surprise that some kids are willing to take drastic measures to get a good grade -- like sacrifice their couch to a bronze statue of a turtle. Tetsudo, University of Maryland’s terrapin, has been on the campus since 1933, and because it kept getting stolen or vandalized by nearby Johns Hopkins students, the school eventually filled it with 700 pounds of cement. Now that it’s completely immobile, the students use Tetsudo as a good-luck charm during finals week, leaving him “offerings” in hopes of good test scores. Anything from empty coffee cups to frisbees to stolen stop signs to flat-screen TVs have been given to the statue. Some just rub its nose. In a dark turn of events, someone attempted to set Tetsudo on fire a few years back (we’re assuming they failed miserably).
Dooley Week (Emory University)
It’s not unusual for older colleges to boast ghost stories, but none really have the effect that Dooley (aka, the “spirit” of Emory) has on its Atlanta campus. Dooley first appeared in 1899, as the author of a letter to the Emory Phoenix, the college newspaper. He reappeared in the paper a decade later to claim he had developed a taste for alcohol and died at a state rehab facility, then was brought to Emory as a science-lab skeleton. The school ran with it, and since then, Dooley takes on the first name and middle initial of the sitting university president (Claire E., currently) and “comes to life” for a week in the spring with the power to cancel classes, host concerts, and cause other mischief. The students who portray Dooley are sworn to secrecy, and can never admit they personified the school’s “unofficial” mascot.
$2 Bills (Clemson University)
Apparently there are two types of people in the US who collect $2 bills: grandpas and Clemson fans. Hoarding and spending the odd legal tender is a tradition that goes back 40 years at the South Carolina college, and is still in practice today. When Georgia Tech wanted to stop playing Clemson in football in 1977, the school made a protest statement by spending $2 bills, stamped with an orange Clemson paw print, at Atlanta businesses to represent the money the local economy would miss out on if they canceled. Today, Clemson fans still buy up all the $2 bills they can before away games, stamp them, and spend them in the various towns they play -- some banks in the hosting cities will even make $2 bills available for fans who forgot them.