Everything you need to know about campus traditions

Two Vanderbilt graduates celebrating Commencement.

Vanderbilt University will celebrate the 150th anniversary of its founding next spring. A number of campus traditions have evolved over time as the university has grown. Here are a few favorites that showcase the strong sense of community at Vanderbilt.  


During Move-In Weekend, upper-division students greet the newest class with cheers and smiles as they lend a helping hand in carrying the first-year students’ belongings to their new rooms on The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons.  


The culmination of Move-In Weekend is Founders Walk. First-year, transfer and Next Steps students form a procession and walk from The Ingram Commons to Alumni Lawn, where they are formally welcomed by the chancellor, the provost and other campus leaders.  


The student experience comes full circle at Commencement as graduates ceremonially exit the same gates of Vanderbilt that they entered during Founders Walk. 


Once all the names have been called and all the degrees have been conferred at Commencement, it’s time to celebrate! Every year, Vanderbilt provides strawberries and champagne so that graduates and their families can toast this important milestone.



Introduced by Commodore cheerleaders in 2003, the popular “VU” hand sign is formed with the thumb, index finger and middle finger of your right hand, palm out. The index finger and middle finger form the “V,” and the “U” is formed by the thumb. 

First year students arrive on the Martha Rivers Ingram Commons for Move-In day of the 2021-22 school year.


Since 2004, the anchor has been a part of Vanderbilt’s football program and is prominently displayed on gamedays. During home games, the anchor is carried in the Star Walk procession to the stadium, and a group or individual is invited to “drop the anchor” at midfield before the game. 



Vanderbilt celebrates its community’s rich diversity in many ways, but one of the most entertaining is its cultural dance showcases, which are open for anyone to join—no dance experience required.here are four annual performances: Diwali, the South Asian Festival of Lights, which is held by the South Asian Cultural Exchange (SACE); Harambee, African Student Union’s cultural showcase; Lunar New Year Festival, which is held by the Asian American Student Association; and Vanderbilt Association of Hispanic Students’ Café con Leche.


Vanderbilt couldn’t truly be part of Music City without an awesome musical tradition. Since 1971, Vanderbilt students have organized and hosted the music festival Rites of Spring on Alumni Lawn.