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Scarlet Pride

The Official Blog for Rutgers Alumni

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Douglass' Sacred Path Login to comment

Monday, May 03 2010 01:25:39 PM

In the early 1900s, it was customary on college campuses for the rising classes to impose 'friendly' restrictions on the new first-year class, and the New Jersey College for Women was no exception to this tradition. The NJC Class of 1922 deemed that first-year students were not permitted to wear anything red and were prohibited from walking on the path from George Street to College Hall for the duration of their first year. This path is known as Sacred Path.

The NJC community decided that at the end of spring semester, they would gather for a "moving up" of the classes ceremony, in which first-year students would be escorted down the Sacred Path by upper-class women, thereby officially becoming sophomores.

Today, Rutgers University honors the Sacred Path tradition with a program in the spring that begins at Voorhees Chapel. The program includes a ceremony of the moving-up of the Douglass classes, a tribute to all service groups, and culminates with a fire pit lit parade to College Hall. Along the way, the participants make a wish on a pinecone and toss into the flames of the fire pits. They then move down the Sacred Path to a reception in the Douglass Campus Center in which the participants receive a charm corresponding to their class year. At the end of four years, they will have four charms to commemorate their years at Rutgers. In addition, each class year is represented by a certain color.
Alumnae receive an ivy leaf charm. Dressed in black, seniors receive the mortarboard. In red, juniors receive a key. Wearing pink, the sophomores receive a clock. Clothed in white, the first years receive a lantern.

The most recent celebration of Sacred Path was held on Sunday, May 2, 2010. Over 700 students, alumnae, family, and friends filled the chapel to honor Douglass tradition and to collect their charms. 

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