Spring on the York College campus

Back to List

Our Favorite York College Traditions

July 19, 2023
Convocation 22
Incoming first-year students in their matching Convocation shirts during Fall Orientation '22.

Written by: Taryn Cook ‘24

During your college search, each school’s academic programs, hands-on learning opportunities, and chances to get involved in clubs and organizations may already be at the top of your “must-have” list when making your decision—but have you considered adding campus traditions to that list? When comparing colleges, campus traditions can be what really sets schools apart. Here at York College of Pennsylvania, our long-standing campus events and activities often serve not only students, but the community as a whole. And they make for some of our favorite YCP traditions!

Orientation Weekend

Orientation weekend is one of the most exciting times on campus for first-year and returning students alike. Not only do residential students move in, but all first-year students attend resource sessions to learn about the support they have available at YCP. These information sessions are one piece of the schedule but there are just as many fun activities. Want to get a taste of ways to get involved around campus?  Most of our clubs and organizations will vie for your attention at the involvement fair, with tables lining the pathways around the fountain at the heart of main campus. Other events during the weekend may include: a Target Takeover for all of your last minute shopping needs, a balloon magician show, a hypnotist, or even a walk along the Rail Trail to visit Central Market in Downtown York.

Fests Galore

At York College, we take our festivals seriously. The month of October is filled with excitement; between Fall Fest, Fright Fest and weekly student-run activities, there is never a dull moment.

Fall Fest celebrations reach across most of Main Campus, with activities spreading from the fountain to Wolf Lawn and all the way over to the front of Schmidt Library. Tons of student groups and organizations line the pathways connecting campus landmarks. Families, friends, faculty, and staff all take part in one of the biggest festivals we have. Fall Fest is also YCP’s Homecoming weekend, so you’ll have the opportunity to meet Spartan alumni from a variety of programs and class years. Along with a special Fall Fest meal, expect to see lawn games and activities like a mechanical bull, inflatable obstacle courses, and a plethora of arts and crafts.

Fright Fest is one of our newest festivals and takes place in the commuter parking lot in front of Penn Hall on Main Campus. Led by Campus Safety, this event features a haunted house in one of our residence halls, where student clubs and organizations choose rooms to decorate as spookily as possible. Enjoy some snacks, a carnival with themed prizes, and a whole host of other activities before you enter the haunted house (if you dare!)

We close out the fall semester with Winter Fest, when we celebrate winter holidays like Hanukkah, Diwali, Christmas, Yule and more. It starts with the lighting of the fountain at the heart of Main Campus and continues with a night full of festivities in and around the Iosue Student Union and Waldner Performing Arts Center. This is a learning experience for all, as we get a taste of seasonal holidays from a variety of cultural traditions with crafts, food, and fun!

Spring Concert

While the fall is jam-packed, there is one major event in the spring that students look forward to the most… the Spring Concert! The minute students return to campus in late January, all they want to know is who the Campus Activities Board (CAB) booked for the concert. The Concert Chair hosts an artist reveal in Sparts Den where students and staff are invited to hear who the long-awaited headliner is going to be. Tension is thick in the air as names like Panic! At The Disco, Fall Out Boy, 21 Savage, Sam Hunt, Steve Aoki, and most recently, Yung Gravy are shouted from the stage. Then even though the countdown to the reveal is over, the countdown to the night of the concert has just begun. When the big event finally comes around, students take their tickets to the Grumbacher Sport and Fitness Center and line up for one of the best nights of the year!


16 weeks of classes leading up to final exams and end-of-semester papers can be worrying and stressful. CAB takes over the Iosue Student Union with activities to help combat that stress after the last day of classes each semester. There is a craft room with leftover supplies from events throughout the semester, novelties like wire writing and neon signs, and other activities have included a petting zoo, and stuff-a-critter stations. CAB knows that food is good for the soul, (and for fueling late-night study sessions)—so always come hungry!


An exciting new finals week tradition is Spartagrams. Each semester, @YorkCollegePA posts an Instagram Story where students can drop their location for a fun finals treat! YCP faculty and staff deliver goodie bags to students all over campus. This little pick-me-up surprise includes the perfect combination of treats to power students through those late night study sessions and big final projects. These bags could include a motivational note, laptop stickers, snacks, and drinks!

Graduation and Signing the Rock

Our last and most revered tradition on campus comes at the end of every student’s academic career at YCP. Signing Ol’ Spart is how York College graduates leave their mark on campus.

During Orientation, students receive a miniature version of the iconic green boulder to carry with them throughout their years at YCP. Each student’s miniature Ol’ Spart symbolizes that the community and family they’re now joining here at York will be their rock: stable, unmoving, and supportive for everything they need.

Want to get a first-hand account of these traditions and more? Schedule a visit to campus and chat with current students, staff, and faculty about their favorite campus events and activities!