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1. The Parking Struggle 

If you drive to school, then you know the struggle of finding a parking spot literally anywhere on campus.  Getting to school after 10 am is not an option unless you want to walk at least a mile to class.  This has led to a lot of “stalking” of people on their way back to their cars, so don’t be too creeped out if you have one or two people trailing behind you.  They’re just trying not to be late to class.

2. The Smell of Dog Food After the Rain 

There has been much speculation as to where the smell permeates from, but everyone can agree that it is strong and pungent.  Beware the rains, especially in spring and summer as the hotter it gets, the more it tends to linger.

3. We Hold Doors 

Part of our motto here at JMU is that, “We hold doors!”  This is very true, and most people will go out of their way to uphold this standard. Lots of students even go home and are offended when other people let the doors smack them in the face.  So, while JMU isn’t strictly a very southern school, this is one bit of charm we take pride in.

4. Steep Hills

We have calves and glutes of steal, that’s for sure.  Being that campus is situated on a rather hilly patch of land, there are a few formidable hills that everyone has had to conquer over their time at JMU.  Most notably are the hills leading up to where D-Hall used to be and the giant set of stairs next to Dukes and Top Dog.  But hey, at least we get a built-in work out on the way to class.

5. Quad Cats 

Being graced by a Quad Cat sighting is one of the highest honors that can be bestowed on someone, and if you’ve ever gotten to PET Dolly or Jimmy then you are one of the chosen.  We love our black cats here at JMU, and you’re seen as extremely lucky if you ever get to interact with them. 

6. Stealing Quad Bricks 

This particular practice is one of the more noticeable ones, as anyone walking along the Quad paths will notice gaps in the sidewalk where people have smuggled bricks out as part of a long-standing tradition. This is a rather costly practice and a little dangerous for those who don’t watch out where they’re going… but that doesn’t seem to be slowing anyone down.

7. E-hall Brunch

Oh E-hall, how we love you.  All JMU students love E-hall, and especially brunch on Sundays.  There’s a lot of recovering being done from late Saturday nights, and this dining hall offers the best assortment of food on campus. If you happen to live on East Campus then this is likely your #1 dining location.

8. The Kissing Rock 

The Kissing Rock has been around as long as JMU, accompanied by its own tradition.  If you kiss someone there, then you’d better be prepared for nuptials! Now I can’t say if this has worked 100% of the time, but you should think long and hard before kissing just anyone there.  However, if you do find that special someone, be sure to give em a smooch there before you graduate for good luck!

9. Timberlands vs Bean Boots

As far as fashion goes, this is just one of those draws where no one can really say which is more popular.  Although both sides will strongly say their choice of shoe is the superior, each are widely represented on campus.  AND, both are great choices considering the range of weather we get here in Harrisonburg.  Personally, I’m a timbs person myself….

10. The Trudge to Memorial 

Memorial…the most confusing building and longest trek across campus.  Memorial is located across the highway, so students face about a 15-20-minute walk to get there.  Those that have signed themselves up for a class there directly after one on main campus know the constant anxiety of trying to catch a bus that’s on time or having to speed walk to class.  At least Greenberry’s is right across the street if you need a pick-me-up.

11. The Views 

JMU is well known for its beautiful campus and gorgeous views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Almost anywhere on campus you can catch a glimpse of them, but there’s nowhere better to watch a sunset than at Festival on East Campus.  ISAT is also a great location to catch the last light of the day if you happen to have a later class there.

12. The Train 

Everyone has been personally victimized by the train at some point in time.  Whether you get stuck on a bus, walking across the tracks, or waiting in your car then you know the fury of being late to class because of the train.  It also serves as an alarm clock for those in the Village, and even at other locations across the Burg.  Choo-Choo to you train.

13. Humorous Vandalism 

You won’t find much crime on campus, but occasionally some sneaky hooligans will spread their trickery across campus in the wee hours of the morning.  Their signature trick is googly eyes.  On James Madison busts, on planets, on frat houses, on posters, pretty much anything that will merit a giggle.  I don’t think anyone is actually offended by this, but sadly they usually get removed within a day or two.

14. Constant Construction

Every year student at JMU has a personal memory of construction around campus.  Last year D-hub went up to replace D-Hall, and this year D-hall is being reconstructed in the center of main campus.  In a few years, it will be the Village and then Showker.  The power tools, the yelling, the banging….it never ends.

15. Crazy Weather Patterns 

This is Virginia for you, but especially in the Valley the weather is extremely unpredictable.  One week can cover the weather of all four seasons.  Winter recently has been quite temperate, but some days it drops to 30 degrees with snowflakes in the forecast.  Flooding is also a common phenomenon since it is the Valley after all.  Jackets and boots are a must for surviving the crazy weather here.

16. The Enormity that is UREC 

The gym means something different for everyone, and it has a little something for everyone too.  Whether you go to UREC to workout, check out those more athletically inclined, have some fun, grab some food, or try a new class you will know just how BIG it is.  Since the renovations were completed over the summer, UREC is as big and booming as ever with great new spaces, courts, and equipment.  We’re truly lucky to have such a great facility.

17. The Squeaky-Clap Phenomenon 

If you haven’t tried it yet, walk over to one of the circular patterns of bricks on the main part of the Quad, stand in the middle, and clap.  You’ll hear a squeak.  I’m not an architect or an expert in sound, so I’m not quite sure why this occurs, but it is an entertaining and silly occurrence.

18. Death by Bike/Longboard 

If your life hasn’t flashed before your eyes as a bike narrowly cut you off, then count yourself lucky.  Being that there are a lot of hills on campus, lots of people take advantage by biking or longboarding.  Unfortunately for the rest of us, they tend pick up a lot of speed and don’t always call out when they’re passing by. 

19. FROGs

Everyone has a fond memory of their First Year Orientation Guide (FROG for short).  I love that JMU has this program, as it really sparks school spirit and unity from the get go.  They help you move in, give you advice, play every icebreaker known to man, and are just overall amazing humans.  Thanks to all our FROGs!  JMU wouldn’t be the same without you.

20. School Pride 

Lastly, every Duke has a strong love and sense of pride for this school.  From streamers at touchdowns, our school fight song, calling back DUUUKES for incoming freshman, dressing in purple and gold every single day, and cheering for all our teams, we demonstrate what it means to love James Madison University with everything we’ve got.  Go Dukes!


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