6 Things You Might Not Know About UD's Annual Groundhog Celebration
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:
- 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."
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- In 2001, when Groundhog became an official university-sponsored event, the Groundhog
5K became part of the annual festivities.
- 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.