ESF is proud of its long-standing tradition of academic excellence, but there are many other aspects of this community that students remember. These are some of the many ESF traditions:
Walking Across the Quad: Or rather, NOT walking across the Quad. You’ll find ESF students sitting, reading, sunning, playing hackey-sack, throwing a Frisbee, even sleeping on the Quad, but never will you see them walking - or “cutting” - across the Quad to get to the other side. The intent is to preserve the Quad as an open green space without worn paths. Using this as a shortcut to or from class will earn you quick notice on campus, as people here are not shy about shouting “Get off the Quad!”
Eustace B. Nifkin: First appearing on campus during the 1940s, Eustace is ESF’s unofficial student. His name appears on class rosters and other official College documents (though no one seems to know how). The student lounge in Marshall Hall is commonly called “Nifkin” Lounge in his honor. He did receive a SUNY diploma in 1972, but evidently returned to ESF to work on a second degree. He is well-traveled: Eustace sends mail to ESF from all over the world. No portrait of him has yet been found, though he’s had the back of his head appear in several editions of the yearbook. In the past, seniors included Eustace somehow in their commencement celebrations. Who knows where he’ll turn up this year?
Friends and Family Weekend/Annual Fall Barbeque: Held annually since 1913, this event offers the chance for your "home" family to meet and mingle with members of your "ESF family." This old favorite is usually held in September or October.
December Soirée: This is a semi-formal dinner-dance held the evening of the December Commencement (graduation). Sponsored by the student government and hosted by a team of student managers, the program includes fine food, student recognition, music and dancing.
Spring Awards Banquet: An annual event since 1913, this is a special occasion for the entire College. Planned and hosted by a team of student managers, the evening program includes student and guest speakers, recognition of students, faculty and staff for excellence in academics and service, and installation of new student government officers. This semi-formal affair includes dinner, music and dancing, and is usually held in March-April.
Campus Lectures: There are six annual endowed lecture series each year (the oldest is named in honor of George Albrecht '30, and alumnus and former dean of Landscape Architecture). On average there are more than 60 special presentations on the ESF campus, including lectures and seminars, most by guest scientists and made possible by sponsored funding or departmental funds. For a schedule of campus lectures, see the ESF Campus Calendar.
TGIF's: Thank Goodness it's Friday! "TG" gatherings are sponsored by student government about once a month on Friday afternoons in Nifkin Lounge, or, when the weather allows, in the areas between Bray and Walters Hall. These events are well-attended by students, faculty and staff. Arrive early for food!!
Ice Cream Socials: Held at least once each semester regardless of weather, this event features free hand-dipped ice cream cones and sundaes.
Spotlight on Student Research: Sponsored by the Faculty Committee on Instructional Quality, Spotlight allows students to demonstrate and talk about their research with faculty, staff, and other students and is usually held in late April.
Morning Munch: Once a month (usually Wednesdays) the tables in Nifkin Lounge fill with boxes of donuts, bagels, and pastries. Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to bring their "ESF Recycles" mugs for juice or coffee to wash down the carbs.
Stress-Free Zone: At the end of each semester, on a Reading Day, students gather on the quad for a variety of stress-relieving activates.
Day of Community Service: Typically on a Saturday in early April, the Day of Service allows members of the campus community to 'give back' in a variety of service projects.
Festival of Places: On a Friday night each February, students in the landscape architecture programs transform Nifkin Lounge into a Festival of Places and they share their Off Campus Program experiences with faculty, staff and other students.
Free Movie Thursdays: Once a month students enjoy a free movie in Marshall Auditorium. Recent releases and timeless classics.
Alumni Toast: A champaign toast sponsored by the Alumni Office each spring during Commencement (graduation) week. Drinkware provided.