Wassail traditions welcome students

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Wassail, a 100-year holiday tradition, will return to Pacific University on Dec. 3 with a revamped focus on history and outreach to other organizations on campus.

Every year, Greek Senate and Greek Life host a holiday dinner open to all students with traditional holiday banquet food, tree decorating and traditional rituals.

Planning committee executive member junior Tyler Wiprud said they want to make the event bigger and more inclusive than it’s ever been before.

Wiprud said the committee is still in the early planning stages of Wassail but is fleshing out ideas of how to involve other clubs and organizations on campus. He said including a tree decorating competition and giving organizations a chance to speak on their personal history at Pacific are possible ways to get more people involved.

Wassail is reminiscent of the old English tradition of wishing good wealth to friends by passing a wassail bowl around to drink from. The bowl was thought to give good health and well wishes for the upcoming year.

As the Master of Ceremonies for last years’ Wassail, Wiprud said his favorite part about the event is its focus on tradition.

“Last year my favorite part was learning about the history of all the organizations and Greeks and Wassail in general, but now I think my favorite part is letting other students know what that history is,” Wiprud said.

Of the wackier of the Wassail traditions, the Greeks have paraded mock boar heads and Yule logs into the University Center and set them on fire. While fire has since left Pacific tradition, students still bring the items in the UC and display them on a main table during dinner.

Dinner is always free for students living on campus and Wiprud said he hopes they can serve free food to off-campus students as well, but it will depend on the costs and Aramarks’ cooperation.

Wiprud said the focus on tradition and being all-inclusive to groups outside of the Greek system will raise awareness about Greek life and will help connect with students outside of it. “It’s important to do this as a tradition to strengthen ourselves as a bunch of organizations and groups,” Wiprud said.

After the administrative push-back of pledging in early fall, the Greek system has been encouraged to focus on holding large events that debunk the stereotype about Greek life. Wiprud said the push-back has helped people realize what is important about being Greek.

“We’ve realized that the most important things we do are our traditions and philanthropy,” Wiprud said. “I’m hoping by refocusing on these big events, a lot of greeks see that pledging is just a way to bring in new awesome people.”

As planning continues, Wiprud said more information will be released about the specifics about the events concerning times, potential costs and programming.


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