[MUSIC PLAYING] SPEAKER 1: Every generation of Cornellians have enjoyed an annual springtime celebration in some form, ranging from parades and carnivals to picnics and concerts. Today's Slope Day is the latest version of an event that dates back to 1901. In 1901, student leaders organized a benefit concert to support the struggling Cornell Athletic Association. The concert was preceded by a promotional noontime circus parade which included a dog painted with zebra stripes, a student costumed as a caged lion, and a pair of chickens labeled dwarf ostriches.
Spring Day lost much of its grandeur during the Great Depression. But 1933 returned Spring Day to its glory days, bringing a carnival and live duck race to Beebe Lake. In 1953, the University band gave a concert on Libe's Slope.
Over the next many years, free concerts on Libe's Slope grew in popularity. In 1977, the University branded the last day of classes party on the slope as Springfest. Springfest '86 became a regulated event on North Campus. But a "Take back the Slopes" student campaign brought 4,500 students to the Slope instead. By 1990, Slope Day had entered the student lexicon.
Whether you celebrated Spring Day, Springfest, Slope Day, or simply a day of sunshine at the end of a long semester, Cornellians of all ages share this seasonal bond. The tradition and student body may change, but the joy and camaraderie felt by Cornellians each brain remains the same.
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A short account of Cornell's Slope Day tradition with historic photos. Produced by Student and Academic Services in celebration of the university's sesquicentennial.