The 2019-2020 year of Benedictine College’s academic year manifests itself with the arrival of new students and returning upperclassmen. On Aug. 27, the incoming students attended the annual Beanie Banquet. There each received a beanie with the college’s iconic “B” crafted onto it.

The tradition acts as an opportunity for breaking the social barriers between incoming students and upperclassmen. However, the incoming Benedictine students have different views on the beanie and the customs associated with it.

For returning students, the beanies are a signal to show the wearers are new to the college. The tradition includes giving returning students the liberty to approach the newcomers and remove their beanies. Once a new student’s beanie has been pulled off, he or she has to caw like a raven three times.

Andrew K. Reasor, freshmen, discussed his perspective.

“It’s cool,” said Reasor. “I feel if it wasn’t for the beanie thing, you’d be really pressured to…remember who’s who.”

Reasor went on to say this was a consoling aspect of wearing the beanie and it allowed him to easily recognize and connect with his fellow freshmen.

Reasor personally recalled the accommodating attitudes of upperclassmen he came in contact with.

“On the first day of classes, within the first four hours, I don’t think any beanies were pulled,” Reasor said. “They all knew these kids are probably freaking out.”

Reasor’s most cherished aspect of the beanie tradition was observing the elder alumni in devotedly donning their beanies for events.

The beanies were blessed prior to being bestowed upon the new students. It is customary to employ the official Beanie Blessing, a prayer composed by Sr. Thomasita Homan, O.S.B., in the late 1980s. For the remainder of ROC Week, freshmen wore their red and black beanies. The transfers, whose beanies were a solid black, only had to wear their light headgear for a day.

During this time, the experience of the freshmen differs from that of transfer students. Gabby Lara, a Junior as well as a Fall 2019 transfer student, opened up about her view on the customs around the transfer beanie.

“It was actually exciting,” Lara said. “Sure, it can suck getting it pulled, but I actually met people that way. People think that just because transfers have been in college, it isn’t as hard of a transition. But I think differently.”

Lara explained she was grateful for the limited amount of time she was able to wear a transfer beanie. She expressed a desire to wear her beanie for a full week like the other newcomers.

“I think it’s a bit difficult because I’m basically starting over at a new school,” Lara said. “Some transfers, including myself, actually would’ve worn it for a week. I sort of wished it was required so we’re equally welcomed into the raven family.”

The tradition of the Benedictine beanies remain to make incoming students feel welcomed and engaged. For some, the beanies become an awkward target, while for others they become a much-appreciated invitation into the Benedictine society.