Luther College Moment in History #62

(The Freshman Beanie History continues!)

In Spring of 1963, after a hot debate, it was decided to ban the freshmen beanies as it was a symbol of hazing and alienation. However, that fall, upperclassmen missed the beanie and freshmen seemed disappointed not to get one. There was still a greased pole climb, but as Junior Dave Zemke was quoted in a Chips article: "I feel that the freshmen orientation was a success in its academic approach to college life … however, [it was not a success] in the area of frosh getting to know upperclassmen. The beanie is the answer to this problem. After seeing a name on a visor a number of times, it is possible to identify a face with a name." [Chips, September 30, 1963] 

The next year, the freshmen class orientation brought back the beanies. The program was modified to no longer be an "initiation" time, but instead a formal, academic orientation. By 1969, the greased pole and freshman skit night were both dropped from the orientation schedule and the beanie slowly began to fall from Luther tradition. In September, 1970, the student body president told the incoming freshmen that they didn't need to wear their beanies (if they didn't want to), which promptly resulted in freshmen ditching them that week. The next fall, in 1971, beanies were given up all together in favor of basic buttons with students' names on them. Norry Waalen, the Chairman of SAC explained in Chips that "many freshmen felt like second-class citizens because of the beanies. Others have said they liked them. Despite the many upperclassman who enjoyed the initiation activities, not many were willing to enforce the policy." 

In 1974, the question of reviving the beanies returned, but the freshman class greatly opposed the idea. "'Good God, no!' vehemently exclaimed one freshman girl, 'it was bad enough wearing those name tags!'" [Chips, September 13, 1974]

Photo from the October 11, 1968 issue of The College Chips.