Campus News

The timeless spirit of Syracuse University

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Take a glimpse into the rich traditions and dynamic community that define life on the hill.

For over 150 years, Syracuse University has been a beloved home to students beyond its highly-ranked academic programs to a deep sense of togetherness and a vibrant student life. From architecture and public affairs to special education and music management, Syracuse is commonly among the top 5 in school rankings across the country for a variety of programs. SU has been celebrated as the first-ever university to offer a degree in the fine arts and has facilitated a gleaming reputation, known not only for its nationally acclaimed education and professional programs but also for its indisputable school spirit and beloved sports teams. 

With an undergrad population of just over 15,000 students and a graduate program of nearly 5,000 students, Syracuse attendees make up roughly 10% of the city’s population, allowing the SU campus to exist almost as its own entity amidst the city’s pre-existing residents. 

Nestled in Central New York, the university thrives as an incredibly close-knit community, rich with traditions and spirited campus events that resonate deeply with the student body. This strong sense of belonging, coupled with a legacy of student advocacy and engagement, is what has made Syracuse so cherished among its attendees for decades. It’s within the pages of more than 200 student publications over the past century that you’ll find the essence of SU across generations.

For years, college campuses have served as dynamic hubs for advocacy and protest, where student voices call for social, political, and environmental change and lean on administrative intervention for action. These institutions have witnessed everything from the 1960s civil rights movement and anti-war protests to contemporary movements for climate action and campus inclusivity, underscoring the pivotal role of student activism in shaping public discourse and policy. On SU’s campus, much of student advocacy has been, and continues to be, demonstrated in student-led publications. 

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Not only have these publications been an outlet for student voices as a means of protest and activism, but have also been a major asset for student creativity, juvenile banter, social connection, advertisements and more. Over the past few decades, the student body of Syracuse University has facilitated over 200 publications, some of today’s most notable being The Daily Orange, The NewsHouse and Jerk magazine. Many of these publications are housed in the SU Library’s Special Collections building and are accessible for students to browse for a glimpse back in time to what student life was like years prior. They have served almost as a time capsule for student protests, pranks, happenings and social event promotions. Many of these publications were and continue to be campus-news-centric, featuring the latest campus happenings, student scandals, and community events that would be notable for student attention or participation. 

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Much comparable to today’s Orange After Dark events calendar, many publications were keen to highlight happenings and fun activities for students occurring on campus, giving us a glimpse into the social scene at Syracuse over the decades.

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Greek Life has been a pivotal means of social connection amongst students, facilitating student-led philanthropy events and parties on the weekends. Syracuse is home to 56 Greek chapters and 6 councils, with the first chapter being the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity for men in 1871 which still stands with active members today. With semesterly opportunities to join, roughly 30% of the student body is involved in Greek Life on campus and has become almost a community within itself. Members maintain chapter-specific rituals and lingo, widely kept secret from the rest of the campus community as a means of preserving the integrity of old traditions. 

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Each chapter among either the Interfraternity Council or the Panhellenic Council hosts numerous philanthropy events annually to gain donations for a charity of their choosing. Fan-favorite events today include Phi Sigma Sigma’s Inferno, which has other chapters participating on teams to complete obstacle courses, Kappa Kappa Gamma’s Kar Wash, and Kappa Alpha Theta’s Theta Bowl, which has teams competing in a flag football championship. Outside of philanthropic endeavors, Greek Life serves as a major social asset to students on campus with fraternities hosting themed parties for the Greek community every weekend, a long-standing tradition at the university.

Despite variation in many social activities for students across SU’s campus, one extracurricular has remained fairly consistent – the Marshall Street bar life. For decades, Marshall Street has been home to a handful of bars and pubs that have been well-loved and heavily trafficked by students nightly. Still-standing Faegan’s Irish Pub and now-demolished Hungry Chucks have cemented themselves in Syracuse history. For years the two bars have hosted students and city-dwellers, advertising happy hours and specialty drinks for the crowds. Hungry Chucks has now been replaced by the well-loved Orange Crate (also known as Lucy’s). However, fan-favorite traditions that still remain in 2024 are Flip Night at Faegan’s on Wednesday evenings and $2 Tuesdays at The Orange Crate.

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Syracuse, a place once deemed home by thousands of students, is characterized by years of celebration, advocacy and change, academic achievement, and a shared love of all things orange. This shared sense of community and belonging, rich with tradition, has fostered decades of memories cherished by students who have come and gone.

Echoes of Orange

Below are just a few of many memories made by students over the years, offering a glimpse into what makes this community so special. Students past and present, graduating in 1981 to future graduates in 2027, share some of their favorite moments from life on the hill.