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10 Strange But True Facts About College Campuses

While much of college is about plodding, serious study, many institutions feature quirky characteristics that bring levity to the student experience. Learn about some peculiar college clubs, eyebrow-raising traditions and curious classes from campuses around the country.

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Strange but True

Most colleges have their fair share of odd traditions and wacky student antics. But have you heard about the student group that feeds squirrels? A marching band that plays music in the library? A philosophy course incorporating principles from Star Trek? Welcome to the weirder side of higher ed. Read on to learn 10 strange but true facts about college campuses.

1. Squirrel Club

Walk around the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor on a Sunday afternoon, and it's very possible you will see dozens of students feeding squirrels peanuts. Far from being an isolated act of animal welfare, the weekly feeding is a regular engagement of the Squirrel Club - an officially sanctioned student group dedicated to nothing more than feeding peanuts to squirrels.

2. Happiness Club

Need a hug? You might take a stroll through the Northwestern University campus. Students there have created an interesting student group - the Happiness Club. Members of the club strive to 'increase the happiness of members of the Northwestern community' by providing students with free hugs, hot chocolate, lemonade and smiley face stickers.

3. Haunted Dormitory

Everyone likes a ghost story - but do they like being a part of the ghost story? Ohio University students living in Wilson Hall might be asking themselves that very question. Students who live in this reportedly haunted dorm claim they have communicated with spirits and hear mysterious rattling of door knobs, among other things. The dormitory has garnered so much attention that it was even featured on the show Scariest Places on Earth.

4. A Degree in Bowling Management

If you head over to Vincennes University in Indiana, you can choose from a variety of business degrees, including accounting and hotel management. But the one business degree program that you won't find offered at any other schools is bowling management. This degree program allows students to get entry-level jobs in the bowling industry and includes classes on sales, pinsetter mechanics and pro-shop operations.

5. Orgo Night

Columbia University has a unique annual tradition of its own. On Orgo Night, the marching band storms into the Butler Library and plays the alma mater. Occurring at the conclusion of the fall and spring semesters, the intention is to provide students cramming for finals with a few light moments before returning to their studies.

6. Naked Quad Run

Tufts University has historically been the locale of a most unusual meeting of students. In recent years, individuals at the school have engaged in the Naked Quad Run - a nighttime streaking event held on campus each December. Responding to concerns that the run has become too dangerous, university president Lawrence Bacow outlawed the Naked Quad Run in 2011.

7. Silent Dance Party

Carlton College might be known for its coordinated, pre-finals, stress-relieving 'Primal Scream', but it has a newer tradition that's picking up steam - a silent dance party. Held on one of two reading days, students download the same hour-long playlist onto their portable music devices and meet at the library. At 11pm, students don their headphones and dance to music only they can hear. The dance party doesn't stay in the library, though - students continue the party throughout campus, listening on their headphones the entire time.

8. Philosophy and Star Trek

A curious class found at Georgetown University seeks to make philosophy palatable for students by incorporating one very popular sci-fi franchise. 'Philosophy and Star Trek' addresses questions of important and serious concern: Is it possible to travel back in time? How are the body and brain connected? What is free will, and do humans have it?

9. Sammy the Slug

Go! Fight! Win! We are the mighty mighty…banana slugs?! That's right - the mascot of University of California at Santa Cruz is the banana slug, resident mollusk of the redwood forest. This slimy creature was originally intended to be a joke of sorts. But, in 1980, when the chancellor thought that a sea lion was a more worthy mascot, the student body were none too pleased. After five years of refusing to be sea lions, students of UC Santa Cruz were finally able to adopt Sammy the Slug as their official mascot.

10. Secret Societies

Another strange but true feature found on many college campuses around the U.S. are secret societies. Skull and Bones, a longtime secret society at Yale University, is perhaps the most well-known of such groups. The society features such prominent past members as George W. Bush and Senator John Kerry - two alum who remain tight-lipped about the group's activities to this day.

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