Many students across the U.S. look forward to all-you-can eat dining halls when they begin college. With its never ending amount of carbs and sweets, there’s always something for everyone to enjoy. What many students don’t know is that their universities hold special events that go back as far as a decade and require a lot of planning and effort to put on. Some of these funky dining hall traditions are sacred to universities and students will wait outside in the rain or shine just to be apart of their school’s tradition. Of the many events that occur annually, here are some of the most well known and funky dining hall traditions in the U.S.! 

1. Lobster Night at Boston University

Beginning in 1985, Boston University started an annual dining hall tradition of Lobster Night. Lobster Night is something that BU students look forward to every year; a night where they can swipe into the dining hall and have fresh, off the coast Lobster in addition to other dishes such as fresh corn, vegetables, delicious Mac and Cheese and other delicacies students could not normally get on a typical day. While the tradition originally started at the centrally located George Sherman Union, it has now expanded to all dining halls across campus and with over 8,000 lobsters brought in. Everyone with a dining plan is entitled to an annual crustacean treat! 

2. A Night At Hogwarts Dinner at Cornell University 

Every year Cornell University hosts a magical Hogwarts Themed Dinner in their Risley Dining Room. This Harry Potter inspired dining hall tradition can be enjoyed by students with a meal plan, in addition to adults, children etc. (for a small fee). In addition a dining hall decorated to fit wizards in training, there is a special meal that is prepared with food including roast beef, fish and chips, Yorkshire pudding, and dishes from everyone's favorite characters including Hagrid, Snape, Madame Sprout and more! And, if you’re lucky you can score some butterbeer and other magical sensations!

3. Freshman Holiday Dinner At Yale

The annual Freshman Dinner at Yale is an event that a “Yalie” will only experience once in their entire college life. This special dinner takes place after classes end and right before finals studying period begin: a perfect time to relax and unwind before the stress of finals kicks in. Located in the Commons, there are extravagant decorations and even ice sculptures that some students will admit is a bit crazy! The menu for this event includes food such as prime rib, fresh shrimp, apple crumble and all kinds of dishes. They even offer lavish vegan and vegetarian options in order to accommodate students diverse eating styles. Each dish is set on display and is just as appealing to the eyes as it is to the mouth! 

4. Screw Your Roommate Dinner at Swarthmore College

This annual dinner involves multiple parts, including one part that occurs before the actual dinner takes place. Students who wish to participate in the “Screw Your Roommate Dinner” are encouraged to set up their roommate(s) with someone they know or may have feelings for, someone they may be friends with on facebook, or even a random stranger one meets on the street. Students then head to the Sharples Dining Hall wearing a costume picked by one’s roommate: it can be a traditional costume such as a prince and a princess or something more creative such as a fork and a knife. Students are scheduled to meet their dates who are dressed in the corresponding costumes and sit down for a dinner with their blind date. After dinner is served students then go change for a night of fun and music with friends and hopefully one’s blind date as well!

5. Boar’s Head Dinner at University of Rochester

Beginning in 1934, The University of Rochester located in Rochester, New York has put on its famous Boar's Head Dinner. This dinner has historic roots going back to the 16th century in England. While it was only offered to males for the first 40 years, the dinner is now open to all genders! Not only is there a multiple course dinner with dishes such as meat, soups, dessert etc., there are also extravagant decorations and long dining tables. The dinner is supposed to recreate 16th century vibes with classic dishes served from the time period and students are encouraged to dress up in traditional Oxford-esque outfits. Throughout the night there is entertainment and students are encouraged to join along in song and cheers to celebrate the long lasting dining hall tradition. 

6. Mardi Gras Dinner at Northeastern Dinner

For 17 consecutive years The Levine Marketplace at Northeastern university has put on a Mardi Gras themed dinner during the week of Mardi Gras. Regular dining hall meals are put on hold while an extensive menu of food is rolled out including pulled pork sliders, Jambalaya, Bourbon glazed donuts and even shrimp étouffée! In order to recreate a New Orleans-esque ambience, the Dining Hall brings in a live jazz band, a photo-booth, caricature artists and of course lots of Mardi Gras themed decorations and prizes. 

I know what you may be thinking: Why doesn't my school have Lobster Night or a Hogwarts themed dinner?! Even if your school does not have traditions as crazy as the one's in this article, there are still plenty of fun occasions that will make a big university seem way smaller or just a way to meet new people and introduce yourself to something new!