6 Things You Might Not Know About UD's Annual Groundhog Celebration

Groundhog


Published Date: February 25, 2014

UD students have been celebrating Groundhog Day for 51 years, ever since former UD president Donald Cowan's fateful injunction to establish traditions unique to UD: "Think of something to celebrate—celebrate Groundhog Day, for instance—but whatever you do, do it with style." However, the celebration has shifted throughout the years to become the event it is today, in which the Saturday night Party in the Park is the culmination of three days' worth of Groundhog-centered fun. Here are six things you might not know about Groundhog:

  1. For the first 38 or so years, Groundhog was organized and run by the students. 

    "It was very rugged and primitive," said Associate Vice-President for Administration Patrick Daly, BA '76, of Groundhog celebrations in the '70s. "There was no food and very little music — someone might bring out their eight-track player, and that was about it. There weren't any Porta-Potties or hayrides; people drove their cars and would get stuck in the mud."
  2. In the early years of Groundhog, the celebration was always on Groundhog Day itself, even if it fell in the middle of the week. It was a 24-hour, midnight-to-midnight event, with students and faculty coming and going from class to continue discussions of poetry and philosophy in the woods.
  3. Students have had to get creative throughout the years when the weather has been less than cooperative. Daly recalls having to move to a different outdoor location — near where the UD DART station is now — in 1981 when the Trinity River rose and flooded Groundhog Park. In 1985, Groundhog was snowed out and had to be relocated from the woods to Haggar.
  4. For the last several years, Groundhog tickets have been in the form of T-shirts or sweatshirts. Previous ticket incarnations include hand-drawn cardboard placards worn on string around one's neck and elaborately decorated toilet paper tubes.
  5. In 2001, when Groundhog became an official university-sponsored event, the Groundhog 5K became part of the annual festivities. 
  6. Today's Groundhog celebrations, in addition to rugby and soccer games, also include a Powderpuff football game between underclassmen and upperclassmen. Powderpuff falls under intramural sports, but, according to Rec Sports Intern and Powderpuff coach Anthony Campise Jr., BA '15, the Groundhog game and, recently, an Oktoberfest game are the only games they play. The Groundhog game is the "big" game, and Oktoberfest is considered "preseason." 

    "The participation in Groundhog Powderpuff has increased significantly over the three years that I've coached," says Campise.

Groundhog festivities will kick off Thursday at TGIT and culminate, in Irving at least, with the Saturday night Party in the Park at Groundhog Park. For alumni, there is an additional Party in the Rat. See here for a full list of Groundhog 2014 activities, including alumni Groundhog celebrations throughout the country.

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