Traditions

Tradition runs deep at Union.

You'll leave Union someday, but Union will never really leave you. By the time you're a senior, you'll have accrued enough memorable, fun and gratifying experiences to last a lifetime.

Motto: Under the laws of Minerva, we all become brothers and sisters. (Sous les lois de Minerve nous devenons tous frères et soeurs)
Alma mater: "Ode to Old Union"


SEPTEMBER

Convocation

Marking the official start of the academic year, Union's full community—students, faculty, and staff— gather to welcome the new class. The occasion features musical performances, acknowledges recipients of prestigious teaching awards and last year's Dean's List achievers, and concludes with a community barbecue.


A student volunteer painting a playground bench.

OCTOBER

TOLL DAY

For over two decades, volunteers from our campus community have ventured across Schenectady to enhance parks and various public spaces. On a designated Saturday, they come together to tidy up parks, lend a helping hand wherever needed.


OCTOBER

Homecoming and family weekend

Every autumn, the Union community gathers in unity to commemorate creativity, uphold tradition, and craft fresh memories. Join us for good food, fun activities, and, naturally, the highly anticipated big game – all of which encapsulate the spirit of this festive fall occasion.


FEBRUARY

Founders Day

Commemorating the anniversary of the granting of the College's charter, Founders Day features a distinguished keynote speaker, student musical performances and recognition of outstanding accomplishments in education.


MARCH

THE DIP

Braving the chill with unwavering courage, every winter, students take the icy plunge to raise funds for Union community members battling cancer. This yearly tradition generates substantial contributions, amounting to thousands of dollars that aid in offsetting treatment costs and medical bills.

A student getting ready for a Dutch Dip
The Union College Japanese Drumming Ensemble (Zakuro-Daiko) gives a ReUnion performance in Memorial Chapel

MAY

REUNION

Alumni, students, faculty, staff, and friends are invited to come together for a weekend filled with receptions, picnics, a parade, celebratory fireworks, and a variety of other activities. Enjoy the opportunity to reconnect with classes from the past and present.


MAY

STEINMETZ SYMPOSIUM

One Friday each May, classes are suspended to allow hundreds of students to present their research projects to faculty, peers and visiting parents. Topics are fascinating and varied—everything from women's freedom in ancient Athens to anti-nuclear activism.

A student points to a poster during a presentation at the Steinmetz Symposium.
Union students cheering on one of the performers at Springfest 2023

Springfest 2023

MAY

SPRINGFEST

One of the most anticipated events of the year, the student-run Springfest features an array of music from contemporary performers and bands. Past festivals have included DNCE, Charlie XCX, Anne Marie, 24k goldn, Sage the Gemini and Hot Chelle Rae. The festival takes place on the expanse of lawn known as West Beach.


JUNE

COMMENCEMENT

Each June, in front of Schaffer Library, Commencement ceremonies include a spirited procession through the Nott Memorial's western door. Amid cheers from loved ones, proud students celebrate their accomplishments, marking the end of four years' hard work and the start of a new chapter.


The Nott Memorial is in the background as two students operate a video camera

STUDENT LIFE

UNION IN PICTURES

Get a taste of what awaits you at Union—a top-notch liberal arts environment with all the ingredients to create a college experience that's uniquely yours—guided by your passions, your interests, your imagination.

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