College Tips, Life at KU

7 Must-Know KU Traditions

Rock Chalk Jayhawk! Founded over 150 years ago, KU is home to some of the most unique university traditions in Kansas. These include infamous traditions, such as Late Night in the Phog, Rock Chalk Review and Waving the Wheat.

Continue reading below for 7 Must-Know KU Traditions!

1. Late Night in the Phog

USA Today

KU is very proud of its basketball team, and every year there is “Late Night in the Phog” that marks the beginning of another winning basketball season! More than 25,000 people wait in line – usually for hours – to get in to this fun event full of basketball scrimmages and other performances. Students love this event and often plan picnics while they wait in line! It’s definitely one of the most important and most loved KU traditions.

2. Waving the Wheat


At football games, students move their hands in a “wave” to appear like wheat waving in the wind and also to discourage the opposing team. You may have seen fans across the country perform the “wave”, but this is something entirely different. Instead, Kansas Jayhawks “wave the wheat”. This gesture was inspired by the Kansas wheat fields and driving winds.

After a touchdown or an opposing basketball player leaves the game, fans “wave the wheat” as a “goodbye” to the competition.

3. Rock Chalk Revue


It’s a party! Well a rock chalk party, that is. Every year, KU fraternities and sororities host a night of plays at the Lied Center for a good cause.

Rock Chalk Revue is a musical revue benefiting Big Brothers Big Sisters of Douglas County. Since its conception in 1949, Rock Chalk Revue has been one of KU’s strongest traditions, and one most loved by students.

4. The Steam Whistle 


Behold the legendary KU steam whistle. Trying to sleep in on a weekday? Not likely to happen, unless you live miles away from campus due to the mighty 7:45 wake-up call of the KU steam whistle. Or at least that was the case before 1912.

Nowadays, the whistle is used to signal the end of classes. It can be heard all across Jayhawk Blvd. and even inside surrounding homes around the hill. The whistle is located in the center of campus on Stauffer-Flint Hall.

5. March Madness Celebrations


Are you a basketball fan? Then this next KU tradition is for you! Every March, KU fans gather on Mass street to celebrate March Madness. Sometimes we’re lucky enough to make it to the Final Four or the national championship, like in 2012! 

6. Confetti Toss


Each game day, the KU newspaper comes out with a full page of art dedicated to the opposing team. As the opposing team introduces their players, students open the newspaper as a way to say they would rather read the paper then look at the opposing team.

Then students make the newspaper it into a “bullhorn” that can hold the confetti, made from tearing pieces of the newspaper. As KU introduces its players, students throw their confetti into the air!

7. Walking the Hill


Every young Jayhawk dreams of “Walking the Hill” after their senior year, in honor of graduating from The University of Kansas.

The tradition of a Commencement procession started at KU in 1907 when faculty and graduates walked from old Fraser Hall to then-new Robinson Gym (where Wesoce Hall now is located).

Today, the procession begins on Memorial Drive. Graduates cross through the World War II Memorial Campanile and march down the steep hill that leads to Memorial Stadium, where the ceremony takes place.


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