Community and Traditions

When you become a student at the University of Chicago, you become part of a campus community that crackles with intellectual energy. Just read the bulletin boards in our College Houses, stop by a study break, hang out in a House Lounge, or eavesdrop on conversations at the House Tables in a dining commons to know what we mean.

Our College Houses brings undergraduates together with resident staff (faculty and advanced graduate students) for whom study and intellectual exchange are a way of life. Additionally, Houses are traditionally composed of students from all years in the College, so mentoring begins from day one.

Community Life

The College Houses give you both the freedom and the structure to build a comfortable and exciting common life. Students decide together what activities the House will do, and because of that are certain to do things you would never have thought of doing—or could not do—on your own. Housemates often take in shows, such as the Blue Man Group, play paintball, ice-skate in the shadow of skyscrapers, or enjoy an architectural boat tour. If you have never shared a family room with seventy people, chances are you’ll do that, too.


The College Houses are rife with tradition – big and small. Whether it’s one House community’s annual plunge into Lake Michigan to welcome the new academic year, or an RH’s weekly Game of Thrones viewing party, or the witty motto on the House gear, each House has developed its own traditions that help define who they are and what they value doing together as a community.

Intramurals (IMs)

Most Houses field intramural sports teams ranging from broomball to innertube waterpolo to ultimate frisbee – as well as all the traditional sports – in their quest for the championship title and winning of the “Maroon Cup” come June.

Kuviasungnerk/Kangeiko – Kuvia

For five days in mid-January, students from each House wake up at dawn to earn points for their House in Kuviasungnerk/Kangeiko—Kuvia, for short. Kuvia, a weeklong winter festival sponsored by the Council on University Programming (COUP) asks for students to participate in morning exercises all five days. The House that has the highest percent participation over the entire week wins $100 for the House, and anyone who attends all five mornings wins a t-shirt too.The name Kuviasungnerk comes from the Inuit word for “pursuit of happiness.” Kangeiko comes from the Japanese samurai tradition of winter training. On Monday students learn the moves to the sun salutation, a series of yoga positions traditionally done at sunrise to welcome the new day, in preparation for Friday morning’s yoga session at Promontory Point at Lake Michigan where participants actually watch the sun rise. The Polar Bear Run on Friday afternoon is another highlight!

Scav Hunt

Since 1987 residents in each community have spent 4 days each May not sleeping and trying to make sense out of the 300+ items on The List in the world’s 2nd largest (as confirmed by Guinness) annual Scavenger Hunt, better known as Scav Hunt. The List contains items that are to be found in the style of a traditional scavenger hunt, but there are many other items that must be built, performed, written, programmed, drawn, eaten, designed, painted, solved, and won.Throughout this time teams also compete in the Scav Olympics, a blood drive, and the infamous Road Trip. Judgment Day is Mother’s Day each May on the Midway Plaisance.