Becoming a student at UCLA means experiencing the customs that Bruins have bonded over for years, regardless of major or personal interests. It all starts with a dip in the Inverted Fountain; once new students have been “Bruintized,” it is considered bad luck for them to touch that water before they complete their last final ever.
Academic success is a cornerstone of many Bruins’ lives, and this is evident during midterms and finals weeks when students can be seen rubbing the Bruin Bear’s paw for good luck. Located across from Ackerman Union, this 6-foot-tall bronze statue has seen more than 30 graduating classes since its installation. It is visible at all times of the year, except for when it’s boxed up to hibernate during rivalry week against USC to prevent vandalism.
There’s no excuse to not know the infamous 8-clap cheer, even if students aren’t planning on being on campus anytime soon. The chant is usually introduced at New Student Orientation, and Bruins show off their school pride by participating in The Den, the official student section of UCLA Athletics.
UCLA’s rivalry with USC intensifies annually at the crosstown football game. The annual Beat ’SC Rally on campus features student performances and appearances from the football team, and for many years, also held a bonfire. It’s organized by the Student Alumni Association in partnership with UCLA Alumni.
These alumni associations also organize Spring Sing, an annual showcase of vocal, musical, comedic and theatrical performances. In 2020, Spring Sing was conducted virtually and consisted of prerecorded videos rather than being held in Pauley Pavilion.
Grinding out problem sets and final papers in Powell Library is a staple for many UCLA students. To enter Night Powell, students must show their BruinCards at the front door before finding a comfortable spot for a long night of studying, often accompanied by coffee from Kerckhoff Coffeehouse.
The 10-week quarter system is fast-paced, and finals are always just around the corner. When the clock strikes midnight every night of finals week, students around campus can be heard shouting away their frustrations in the Midnight Yell.
On more leisurely weeks of the quarter, the lawn of Sunset Canyon Recreation Center serves as an ideal location for relaxation. The field is made for lounging and picnicking, while the beach volleyball courts and lap pools are for those looking to exercise.
Nothing says Bruin life quite like late night junk food from De Neve Residential Restaurant. The UCLA dining halls are often ranked best in the country, and students with premium meal plans can swipe out extra boxes for their friends. Pro tip: If you get chicken tenders, don’t forget the ranch!
The up-and-down walk between dorms or apartments and classes on campus is a struggle familiar to many college students. Nonetheless, UCLA’s buildings and statues offer a wealth of information about the campus’ rich history that can make the daily trek more rewarding. Bruins often take selfies in front of the iconic architecture of Royce Hall, which dates back to the 1920s and features Italian influences.
The statue of John Wooden in front of Pauley Pavilion provides another sneak peek into the school’s athletic past. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame basketball player and coach was otherwise known as the “Wizard of Westwood” for winning seven straight national titles.
When classes are online and facilities are closed because of COVID-19 precautions, students can still experience some of UCLA’s iconic outdoor locations while social distancing. A stroll through the Franklin D. Murphy Sculpture Garden highlights more than 70 unique installations intertwined with concrete structures for sitting and doing work.
In addition, the Mildred E. Mathias Botanical Garden offers a natural getaway right in the southeast corner of an otherwise urban campus. The “living museum” contains a vast collection of plants from all over the world, boasting a small ecosystem of squirrels and turtles.
When it’s time for dessert, ice cream sandwiches and cookies from Diddy Riese are a trusted Bruin favorite. Their red- and white-lettered storefront has been in Westwood since 1983, and students can order freshly baked boxes online to keep the tradition alive – even in uncertain times.
There is a lot to look forward to as a Bruin! Every year, students have the opportunity to create their own traditions and leave their mark on the student body. The UCLA True Bruin program provides a checklist on its website that incoming freshman and transfer students can complete to qualify as an official True Bruin Traditions Keeper at their commencement ceremony.