Students attending the Kohoutek Festical in 1974

Tradition at Pitzer College

Although we are a relatively young college, we have our fair share of traditions! Check out some of my favorite PZ traditions throughout the school year.

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August: New Student Orientation Week

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Dinner for Catalina Kayaking and Backpacking Orientation Adventure. Courtesy of Natalie Honan.
Fierce competition at PZ Olympics. Courtesy of Ben Cowan.









The first week back at Pitzer is full of traditions! As the the Pitzer community gets ready to welcome incoming first year, transfer, and new resources students, traditions such as Orientation Adventure, the Pitzer Olympics, and the Move-In Day dance party in front of the Gold Student Center take place. Coming home never looked so good!


September: Alley Cat, Bike Raffle, and Baldy Bombs, oh my!

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Alley Cat Winners and Runner Ups 2016. Courtesy of Natalie Honan


In September, the weather in Claremont is perfect for biking! While the Green Bike Program is known for their biannual bike raffle for students in need of wheels, general bicycle maintenance and repair services, and workshops, they also host a myriad of other events including Alley Cat, a 5C wide bike scavenger hunt, and Baldy Bombs, a sunrise bike ride down Mount Baldy back to Pitzer (helmets and functional brakes required!).




October: Halloween in Claremont and Haunted Grove House

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PZ Seniors as the Sandlot. Courtesy of Natalie Honan.

Halloween in Claremont is no joke and costumes are NOT optional. From Harwood Halloween to Jumpstart Trick or Treat in PAS, the spookiest place come October is the Haunted Grove House. Planned entirely by the Grove House Committee, our beloved Grove House becomes a Haunted House for Halloween, complete with costumed students and ghoulish special effects– I hear people are dying to get in…

November: Thanksgiving at McConnell

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A very special time of the year, and a tradition which makes both my heart and stomach uncomfortably full (with friendship and food, respectively): the wonderful staff at McConnell Dining Hall prepare a full Thanksgiving feast for hungry students!

December: Late Night Snack

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The holidays hark in a very special season in which we eat our feelings, especially the feelings of overwhelming stress that come with finals. In a very special tradition that occurs the week before final exams, our professors and the administration serve a “Late Night Snack” to students, complete with mozzarella sticks, smoothies, nutella sandwiches, and more!

January: Hens vs Stags Basketball Game “6th Street Rivalry”

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The fabled tales of the epic face off that is the 6th Street Rivalry are far reaching. This Pomona-Pitzer tradition requires all of us to put on their best orange and blue to cheer on the Hens as they face the CMS Stag-thenas. Chirp chirp, baby!  

February: Valentine’s Dinner at Grove House

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Some lovely ladies at the G-house Valentine’s Dinner. Courtesy of Natalie Honan.

In February, Pitzer students bring their gals, pals, or vals to the most romantic candlelit dinner in all of the Inland Empire– the Grove House Valentine’s Day Dinner! Tables are reserved via lottery system, and if you are one of the many lucky students, you are treated to a free, gourmet, three-course dinner with live music and romantic ambiance to spare – fall in love all over again!

March: Kohoutek Music and Arts Festival

Courtesy of Pitzer College.

In 1974, the Kohoutek Comet was meant to collide into Earth and destroy our home planet. To celebrate their last days on Earth, Pitzer students organized an epic end of the world party–  with music, food, and dancing galore! However, the world didn’t end that fateful night in 1974 and the Kohoutek Music and Arts Festival lives on, thanks to student organizers. Recent artists have included Princess Nokia, Phony Ppl, and The California Honeydrops, alongside student bands! Check out more photos from the Kohoutek archives.

April: Rockabilly Festival

Rockabilly Festival at Pitzer. Courtesy of FlickRiver.

Each spring, Pitzer’s Latinx Student Union plans the Rockabilly Festival to bring together students, faculty, and community members to celebrate Latinx culture with a car show, food, local vendors, and live music! The students’ hard work and enthusiasm is clearly reflected in this Pitzer tradition.

May: Senior Theses

Senior Theses Projects! Courtesy of Natalie Honan, Art by Sachi Watase.

Last but not least, academic traditions hold a special place in the hearts of Pitzer students as well. I’ll be finishing up my thesis, titled “An Analysis of Health Outcomes and Neuroscientific Efficacy of State Mandated Sex Education in American Public Schools”, this spring. It has been a rewarding project and it is so great to see the product of all the seniors’ hard work in their spring theses presentations!

The Pitzer community is incomparable– this is exemplified when it comes time to senior theses presentations, whether they be science theses posters at Keck, the art theses in the galleries around campus, or other theses presentations. Friends, faculty, and community members show up to support the culmination of students’ academic careers at Pitzer. With the promise of free food and seeing your friends in business casual, senior theses are one of the many community centered traditions at Pitzer.

PZ Olympic Opening Ceremony (a new tradition). Courtesy of Natalie Honan.

Finally, the most special part of Pitzer is the opportunity to create your own traditions with the wonderful people you meet here! As a senior, of course I’ll miss taking part in the traditions I’ve mentioned above, but it will also be hard to say goodbye to greasy watermelon tournaments, Friday night Potlucks at Cucamonga, team dinners, Donut Man runs, and going out to dinner with the Diversity Interns in the Admission office.


Whether campus wide or within a smaller group of friends, unique traditions make Pitzer an even more special place to spend your college years.


Which traditions will you celebrate?

Posted by Natalie Honan ’17

Prelude to Pitzer: Orientation Adventures

A few Pitzer graduates from the class of 2015 who combined to lead 7 Orientation Adventure (OA) trips wanted to share their insights and experiences with the incoming class in order to prepare and excite you for this experience!

Dear Pitizens,

If you’re not already excited for OA placements…you totally should be! How cool is it that your first task at Pitzer is to go and bond with a group of fellow first years and leaders at some cool location in Southern California. You arrive for move-in day, meet your suitemates, say goodbye to the fam and BAM, you wake up early in the morning and get bussed (or shipped) to the beach for a few days of surfing, to Catalina Island for krazy kayaking, the San Gabriel Mountains for some backpacking action, Huerta del Valle for sustainable farming, or downtown Los Angeles to sample the best food the city has to offer. Regardless of what trip you’re on, everyone is ensured an OA group of 10-15 first years and 3-5 leaders that quickly becomes the first family you have at Pitzer. While some connections are made through shared sunrise hikes, memories of wiping out from a particularly strong wave, or through one of numerous slightly embarrassing and often times revealing ice-breakers, the bottom line is that everyone bonds through the similarity of being in a new place surrounded by new faces. By the end of the 4th day, you realize you’ve grown close with people that you barely met and have established potentially long lasting relationships. Then you come back to campus and not only do you have some new homies, you have campus to yourself with a plethora of Orientation activities to explore.

Although participating as a first year is fun, I don’t think it gets more rewarding than being an OA leader. Most students who choose to lead an OA do so because they want the incoming class to receive the same amount of support that they received during their OA. Your OA Leaders become some of the first mentors you meet at Pitzer; the first ones where you can ask “so tell me what it’s ACTUALLY like at Pitzer”. And believe me, OA leaders love to spill the beans and tell you all about what Pitzer has to offer. All leaders arrive a week before the trips to head out and participate in a weeklong training to ensure that we create an open and inclusive environment and especially to make sure everyone stays safe, fed, and stimulated. The OA coordinators and leaders put in a lot of time and effort to make sure that this experience is one that you wont forget, and hopefully makes the college transition process a bit easier to navigate. So know that your OA leaders are just as excited to meet you all and share this adventure together. The Orientation Adventure program epitomizes the Pitzer community, and you will soon find that there is an incredible number of people on campus that want to start your Pitzer adventure with a bang!

Oh, AND everyone gets a cool NALGENE and TSHIRT!! Get pumped!

-Andy B, Stephen M, and Tyler C


The following is a short interview with one of this year’s Orientation Adventure coordinators, Tyler.

What is your role as an OA coordinator?

My role as OA coordinator involves working on a team with two other coordinators and a supervisor to take into account what the OA program has done in the past in order to design and put together this year’s program. I am personally taking care of food for all of the trips, along with paying extra close attention to the surfing, beach camping, local outdoors, and camp Pitzer trips.

What has been the most surprising/fun part of this process so far?

The most surprising and fun part of this process has been the mixture of autonomy in terms of being able to put a personal touch on the work I’m doing. Also just the great people I work with.

As an OA veteran, what’s some advice you have for the incoming Pitzer class?

As an OA vet, my advice for the class of 2019 is to relax your mind and relish in the specialness of your time on the trip. Keep an open mind because everyone you’re meeting is new and even if you judge them now, most people are about to change a lot over the next four years.


If you lean towards the YouTube variety, check out the OA Prelude to Pitzer video here:

Posted by Andy Buitron ’15 and Stephen Moser ’15


Prelude to Pitzer: The Roommate Selection Process

Hi Pitzer first years and prospees! My name is Briana Perlson, coming from Brea, CA. I am majoring in Environmental Analysis and am going into my third year as a Resident Assistant!  When you get to Pitzer, you will be entering a very exciting time in your life and at a very special place; we joke this is the Happiest Place on Earth! Living on campus is a unique opportunity to both be supported and live outside your comfort zone. Living with a roommate is a new adventure and chance to form immediate and lasting friendships. You will have a support system the moment you step onto campus! From your RA to your first year mentor to your Orientation Adventure leader, you will have so many students who are happy to lend a helping hand, a listening ear, and a friendly face.

College will push you in many ways, and there can be many ups and downs throughout. Especially in the beginning, it can be tough adjusting to living away from home, with a roommate, and navigating college level coursework, activities, etc. One of the ways to help make this adjustment easier is having good communication with your roommate. You should definitely contact your roommate ahead of time and try to get to know one another; figuring out things such as: Do you want a fridge in the room? or Should we loft our beds to fit a couch? Also, it may tempting to have your roommate’s facebook profile act as their first impression (we have all had those silly fb posts that make us seem a little nuts), but take the time to get to know them. You were matched for a reason, so that is why it is so important to be very open and honest on your housing forms. Hopefully you and your roommate will find that you two can help support each other in this exciting time of starting your Pitzer experience! Have a wonderful summer and see you so soon during Orientation Week!


If you feel like watching the YouTube version of this video, here it is:

Posted by Briana Perlson ’16, Environmental Analysis