Student life at Tufts University
The Tufts University school mascot is Jumbo the elephant, in honor of a major donation from circus owner P.T. Barnum in 1882. While Barnum gave the skeleton of the animal to the American Museum of Natural History, the stuffed remains of Jumbo were put on display in the lobby of Barnum Hall until the building burned down in 1974. The alleged ashes of Jumbo currently reside in a peanut butter jar in the athletic director's office. A large plaster-statue elephant, Jumbo II, now sits on the academic quad. The Tufts mascot is the only school mascot listed in Webster's dictionary.
The school colors of Tufts University are brown and blue. The shade of brown is generally a chocolate brown, and the blue is variously described as between light and middle blue, or dusty sky blue. Though this color combination was chosen by the student body in 1876, the colors were not made officially the colors of Tufts University until 1960, when the Trustees voted on the matter.
The Tufts Community Union funds a number of undergraduate student groups, and some 150 are recognized by the university. Prominent groups include the Beelzebubs, Tufts Financial Group, Tufts Dance Collective, the Amalgamates, Spirit of Color, Tufts Labor Coalition, United for Immigrant Justice, Students for Justice in Palestine, The Observer, Tufts Mormon Club. The Leonard Carmichael Society, an umbrella organization for community and public service projects, is the largest student group at Tufts, comprising a volunteer corps of over 1,000 and a staff of eighty-five.
In The Princeton Review's 2010–2011 "Best 363 Colleges," Tufts was ranked #14 for the happiest students and Tufts' study abroad program was ranked #3 in the country. The Princeton Review has since 2005 listed Tufts in its "Best Campus Food" category, ranking it as high as second. Additionally, The Advocate ranks Tufts as one of the top 20 gay-friendly campuses.
In 2009, the school banned sexual activity in dorm rooms when a roommate is present. The university may have been the first in the nation to be explicit about this type of conduct.
Painting the Cannon
Naked Quad Run
The Naked Quad Run was originated by residents of West Hall and was originally known as the "West Hall Naked Quad Run". Though the exact date of its origin remains unknown. In the late '70s the run was revived by residents of Carmichael Hall but faded from the campus until it was again revived and popularized by West Hall residents in the early 1990s.
Dorm residents, such as "Quad Man", would warm up the gathering crowd below by stripping on the fire escape to loud music blasting from the upper floor windows. Once the dorm residents were themselves sufficiently 'warmed up' with alcohol, they would gather in the basement of the dorm, undress as a group, and then exit from the rear of the building, many with phone numbers painted on their back or butts.
The Naked Quad Run takes place just before fall finals, in December, and attracts hundreds of students to unwind by stripping and running a circuit around the Res Quad. Most students run naked, but some wear costumes such as capes or shrink wrap.
On March 14, 2011, President Larry Bacow announced that the Tufts Quad Run had been banned for the upcoming year due to concerns about alcohol consumption.
A re-emergence of the event had come to light in the spring of 2016 during finals week. A similar event was carried out in the 2017 spring during finals week.
Initially held in 1980, a concert known as Spring Fling takes place in the spring semester immediately before final exams on the President's Lawn. Spring Fling acts have included the following (in reverse order of appearance, i.e. the headliner is listed first):
- 1980: Pousette Dart Band, Willie Nineger Band, Beelzebubs
- 1981: Pousette Dart Band, James Montgomery Band, NRBQ
- 1982: Clarence Clemons and the Red Bank Rockers, Chubby Checker
- 1983: Evelyn "Champagne" King, NRBQ, The Kool Rays
- 1984: The Stompers, Junior Walker and the All-Stars
- 1985: The Busboys, 'Til Tuesday
- 1986: Ministry, Scruffy the Cat, Plate O' Shrimp (the concert was held at Nine Lansdowne in Kenmore Square due to rain)
- 1987: The Smithereens, The Bongos, Plate O' Shrimp
- 1988: Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble, Treat Her Right
- 1989: The Robert Cray Band, Ivan Neville and the Rooms, Plan B
- 1990: The Band, Barrence Whitfield and the Savages
- 1991: Cheap Trick, Heretix
- 1992: Blues Traveler, Shinehead, Urban Blight (the concert was held in Cousens Gymnasium due to rain)
- 1993: Violent Femmes, The Lemonheads, Digable Planets
- 1994: Fishbone, They Might Be Giants, Queen Latifah, Thumper
- 1995: B.B. King, Denny Dent, Brand Nubian, Buffalo Tom
- 1996: George Clinton and the P-Funk All-Stars, Violent Femmes, moe.
- 1997: A Tribe Called Quest, Barenaked Ladies, G. Love & Special Sauce
- 1998: LL Cool J, Maceo Parker, Less Than Jake, Hall's Corner Band
- 1999: Ben Folds Five, Cherry Poppin' Daddies, The Sugarhill Gang
- 2000: The Roots, Better Than Ezra, Reel Big Fish
- 2001: Busta Rhymes*, Guster, Jurassic 5, Redshift 6
- 2002: moe., Toots and the Maytals, Mobb Deep
- 2003: Busta Rhymes*, Reel Big Fish (the entire event was canceled due to rain)
- 2004: The Roots, Less Than Jake, The Sugarhill Gang
- 2005: Busta Rhymes*, Goldfinger, The Walkmen, The Juice (Busta's performance was canceled again due to rain)
- 2006: Guster, Blackalicious, The Slip, Melodesiac
- 2007: T.I., Lupe Fiasco, Spoon, Oxford Collapse, Ezra Furman and the Harpoons
- 2008: Dropkick Murphys, Common, Tea Leaf Green, FunkSoulLove
- 2009: Ludacris, The Decemberists, Asher Roth, The Ride, Brennavin
- 2010: OK Go, Drake, Sammy Adams
- 2011: The Roots, RJD2
- 2012: Lupe Fiasco, Guster, White Panda, The Rare Occasions
- 2013: Nelly, Yeasayer, 5 & a Dime
- 2014: Childish Gambino, Flosstradamus, The New Pornographers
- 2015: Ke$ha, MisterWives, Lauren Lane
- 2016: Matt & Kim, Shaggy, Børns
- 2017: Tinashe, Metro Boomin, Aminé
- Note: Due to the dual cancellations of Busta Rhymes' scheduled appearances (2001, 2003, and 2005), Tufts community folklore includes a "Curse of Busta," stating that Busta Rhymes will never be able to perform at Tufts' Spring Fling.
The night before Spring Fling, the Tuftonia's Day fireworks take place on the Rez Quad. In 2014 the band Not So Gentlemen, after winning second place at Battle of the Bands, played at Tuftonia's Day and gave away a few vintage t-shirts made by their moms.
The Tufts Mountaineering Club "pumpkins" the campus each year before Halloween, placing pumpkins in prominent and increasingly absurd locations such as atop buildings and statues. The ritual is over 75 years old.
The Greek-letter organizations continued to thrive, and are to be present on campus to this day. There are currently 10 fraternities, 6 sororities, and one co-ed group. About 15% of the student body is involved in the Greek system.
- Delta Tau Delta
- Delta Upsilon
- Kappa Alpha Psi
- Pi Rho Omega
- Theta Chi
- Theta Delta Chi commonly referred to as "123" at Tufts
- Zeta Beta Tau
- Zeta Psi
- Co-ed Greek organizations
Campus media and publications
Most campus publications and media are funded through the Student Activities Fee distributed by the Tufts Community Union Senate. The most notable exception to this is the Tufts Daily which is entirely independent of the Senate and is published through advertising revenue. There is a wide cross section of groups producing media on campus, both popular, electronic, and academic. All groups under the Senate are represented by the Media Advocacy Board at Tufts University, which provides a media laboratory for production of print publications. Groups are arranged in order of establishment under their respective categories.
News and magazines
- The Tufts Daily, the daily student newspaper and a source of news for the last three decades; the Daily is notable for its financial independence, receiving no funding from the student activities fee. Founded in 1980.
- Tufts Observer, a biweekly newsmagazine and the oldest student organization on campus, having been founded in 1895 as the university's first student newspaper.
- The Primary Source, a journal of conservative thought. Founded in 1982. (Defunct as of May 2013)
- The Zamboni, a humor and satire magazine. Founded in 1989.
- Discourse, a student-run journal of domestic and international issues.
- Canon, a literary journal also publishing student photography and other visual arts. Replaced Outbreath, itself founded in 1998, beginning spring 2012.
- Public Journal, an alternative literature magazine focusing on publishing found literature, founded in 2005.
- Tufts Traveler, a travel journal founded in 2005.
- Breakthrough: Tufts Science Magazine, an undergraduate popular science magazine for the Tufts community. Founded in 2008.
- Melisma: Tufts Premier Journal of Independent Music, Arts & Culture, a student-run biannual publication. Founded in 2004.
Radio and television
- Podcast Network, a group that produces original and creative audio content every week.
- WMFO (91.5 FM Medford) is freeform radio operated by students and community volunteers since 1970; the station broadcasts 365 days a year and operates out of Curtis Hall.
- TUTV, the campus television station, operated by Tufts students in partnership with the Ex College.
- Jumbocast, a student-run broadcast group that specializes in streaming Tufts events live over the internet via webcast.
- Hemispheres, since 1976 one of the few academic undergraduate journals dedicated to international relations in the United States.
- TuftScope: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Health, Ethics, and Policy, an academic journal of health, ethics, and policy founded in 2001.
- Tufts Historical Review, an academic journal of global history, founded in 2007.
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-  Archived July 14, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
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-  Archived September 19, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
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