In the scheme of things, California State University, Bakersfield is a young university. Since opening its doors in 1970, there has remained plenty of room to create new traditions as the campus grows. This fall, under the leadership of CSUB’s new Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Thomas Wallace, three new traditions ushered in the freshman class.
New Student Convocation was the scene of two of these new traditions: parents tacked gold pins onto their freshmen in a pinning ceremony and academically successful second-year students cheered them on from the Sensational Sophomores section.
Then, the following evening, energy filled the air as more than 100 freshmen, CSUB staff, faculty and alumni convened at the far end of the soccer field during the break between the men’s and women’s double header soccer games. Led by the Roadrunner mascot, Rowdy, and dressed in CSUB blue and gold, the crowd took off at a fast pace across the field. Over the PA system, a voice announced the Graduating Class of 2016.
This was the Rowdy Run.
“To be a part of sharing that excitement, it was a wonderful feeling. Actually, exhilarating,” Wallace said.
Wallace admits he borrowed the idea from Vanderbilt University when he saw a similar event celebrating freshmen at a football game against the University of Mississippi, also known as Ole Miss. (Wallace worked at Ole Miss for 20 years.)
“It’s a way of introducing our freshman class to the campus and to the Bakersfield community,” he said. “But it’s also a chance to emphasize degree completion. They are introduced as the Class of 2016. The expectation is, while we are excited about your running across the soccer field to the CSUB fight song, we want to also be excited four years from now when you walk across the stage to get your diploma.”
Wallace says he expects the Rowdy Run to grow each year as the new tradition takes hold among freshmen. He also looks forward to implementing more traditions at CSUB.
“I look forward to working with our campus, students, faculty, staff and alumni on developing traditions that are good for our campus,” he said.
– Jennifer Burger, CSUB Public Affairs Coordinator