Denison’s Weird Odd and Interesting

Denison University Campus

By Liz Haughton
By Liz Haughton
Unigo Campus Rep at Denison University

Denison University has the reputation of being a traditional campus. It was founded in the 1800s, switched from being religious-affiliated to a non-secular college, and gained university status after creating graduate programs. Now, this might all sound familiar and even a little boring, but there are some things about Denison that you may think are not so traditional, and might even be plain weird.

The Wingless Angels
Secret societies are found on several campuses throughout the country, the Skulls from Yale probably being the most well-known. Denison has its own version, but it is not your typical idea of a secret society. They are called the Wingless Angels, and their purpose is to bring the student body’s attention to wrongful doings around campus as well as create a little havoc. Since I have been at Denison, I’ve encountered the Wingless Angels on only a few occasions. The first time I even heard of them was after they branded their logo of W and A into the perfectly manicured soccer field. I next saw them at the freshmen girls housing lottery, when a couple members came running in with their signature hockey masks on, while passing out a fake version of a check to the president implying that the lottery is corrupt. Everyone likes to talk about the Wingless Angels, especially when they make a rare appearance, but no one knows for sure who is a member or what their true goals are. They are almost an oxy-moron — trouble-makers out to make good.

The Homeless Greeks
Fraternities and sororities are common on many campuses and Denison is no different. But what sets our Greek system apart from other schools is that neither fraternity nor sorority members live in their houses. Fraternity members were allowed to live in their houses up until the early 1990s, when Denison made the decision to kick members out of their houses in order to divert away from the wild party reputation. Sorority members on the other hand have never been allowed to live in their houses. This is due to an old Ohio law stating that four or more women living in a house together is considered to be a brothel. This law is no longer intact, but Denison decided to continue using the houses only for chapters and functions rather than living purposes. The Greek scene is still very much present on campus, but the houses are only used for official purposes rather than living or throwing parties.

The Haunted Library
Most schools have haunted dorm rooms or classrooms, but a floor in the library? Rumor has it that the fifth floor in the library on Denison’s campus is haunted. It’s so bad that people will avoid checking out books if it means going on that floor. While there are several versions of the story as to why it is haunted, the myth stands that long ago, someone was murdered there. The stacks are spooky enough as is but with this in mind I would steer clear of the fifth floor.

The Curse of the Denison Seal
It is a custom for every Denison tour guide to mention the seal while giving tours: “Rumor has it if you step on the seal you won’t graduate.” Denison students take this threat to heart. The seal is located outside of the campus chapel, Swazey, and when walking by, you will see students going to great lengths to avoid stepping on the seal. If a large group is passing through, they will divide in time to make sure no one comes into contact with it. I’m not sure if this myth can be proven, but I’m not planning to test it anytime soon.

Old School Pinning
Pinning is a strong tradition among fraternities in the south, but Denison happens to be the only non-southern school to participate in the tradition. Pinning is when a fraternity member offers his pin to his long-time, steady girlfriend. When/if she accepts, a weeklong celebration occurs with a serenade concluding the event. The serenade consists of the boy with his fraternity behind him, confessing his love to his girlfriend in front of anyone who wants to watch. On average there are about 4-7 pinnings a year and they are definitely a must-see. The pinning signifies a commitment, and is oftentimes followed by an engagement. Another fun fact is that it is said that 80% of the couples that graduate together from Denison get married. So if you are looking to find a husband/wife right out of college, Denison might be the right place for you.

It’s a personal opinion in deciding whether these traditions should be considered weird, odd or interesting, but either each other these set Denison apart from the rest.