What’s the Most Iconic Cornell Tradition? Eight Contenders Remain!

Slope Day, hockey games, food trucks, and Dairy Bar ice cream are among the quarterfinalists in the battle for Big Red greatness

Editor’s note: The bracket is currently in its final round, and the poll at the bottom of this post is closed. Here’s the ballot for the final, running until 8 a.m. EDT on Monday, April 22!

By Corey Ryan Earle ’07

From our 32 contenders in week one, we have now narrowed down the field to just eight iconic Cornell traditions. Last week, more than 1,100 voters made some tough decisions and gave the boot to several of the Big Red’s most unique experiences.

In an extremely close matchup, “Watching the sunset on Libe Slope” defeated “Singing the Alma Mater with your arms around your friends” by only 21 votes!

In fact, music has been eliminated from the bracket entirely, with the last two tuneful options losing.

An illustration of Corey Earle with the text "Storytime with Corey" and a badge that says "March Madness"!

“Hanging out with friends on Slope Day” beat “Climbing to the top of McGraw Tower for a Chimes concert,” 65% to 35%, and “Savoring a late-night snack at Louie’s Lunch (or Hot Truck)” overcame “Seeing a world-renowned speaker or performance at Barton Hall,” 69% to 31%.

Weather events performed surprisingly well, with “Dressing completely wrong for the Ithaca weather” outpacing “Strolling around Beebe Lake,” 53% to 47%, and “Trudging to class through the snow” conquering “Passing the swim test,” 64% to 36%.

In the battle of deliciousness, ice cream vanquished alcohol, with “Eating ice cream at the Dairy Bar” winning over “Sipping a glass in Intro to Wines,” 61% to 39%.

In the battle of deliciousness, ice cream vanquished alcohol, with “Eating ice cream at the Dairy Bar” winning over “Sipping a glass in Intro to Wines.”

But the most one-sided matchup was hockey vs. dragons in a week that saw the Cornell community celebrating both of them.

“Cheering for Big Red hockey at Lynah Rink” trounced “Marching in the Dragon Day parade,” 79% to 21%—in the same week that Cornell Big Red men’s hockey advanced to and lost in the NCAA regional finals, with the games played on the day before and after the traditional Dragon Day celebration on campus.

Our next four match-ups are below, helping identify the final four iconic Cornell traditions. Who will advance? You decide.

The dragon leaves Rand Hall in 2016
Puff! The dragon fell to Big Red hockey by a wide margin. (Cornell University)

As a reminder, here are the basics:

• Voting occurs weekly in a series of matchups until we reach the championship final, with championship voting opening on April 15.

• The third bracket of four pairs is below, and you can download the full bracket here:

Corey’s March Madness Bracket 2024: Round 3

• Round Three voting runs from now until 8 a.m. EDT on Monday, April 8.

• Look for the results—and the next round of match-ups—that afternoon!

Corey’s March Madness: Cornell Traditions, Round 3

Published April 1, 2024


  1. Allen

    Thank you Corey! CU March (April) Madness!

  2. Rich Newman, Class of 1968

    No comment

    • Bill Howell, Class of 1969

      Hello Rich, loyal Phi Sig brother, as were your brothers. Ready to watch the eclipse ?

  3. Jeffrey L Cornett, Class of 1972

    I remember waiting in line in Barton Hall to sign up for classes. That’s also where the crew team recruited tall guys (and short ones) to come try out for crew.

    • Robert Blair Rice, Class of 1973

      I remember it well and I remember you. I was a lightweight when you were driving the heavies!

  4. Cindy Duke

    Can’t remember which bar it was, but this place held weekly hamster races. Way too much fun, especially after a couple rounds of refreshments!

    Also, playing Broomstick Polo as the pre-game and half-time “entertainment” for the regular polo games. Note: It was a very low-scoring game.

  5. John Dwyer, Class of 1964

    I remember failing the prelim,don’t recall the ace the next part.

    • Kshama Malavalli, Class of 2022

      Some things really are universal…

  6. Kenyon Erickson, Class of 1981

    Fall Tonic!!!

    • Ian Wright, Class of 1994

      Just crown Hockey now (this should have been the final with Slope Day)! Are there any bars left in Collegetown? Same problem with Hot Truck (Louie’s always seemed a distant second option)… Dairy Bar is more of a 21st Century tradition and sunsets are spectacular everywhere (except when it’s “Ithacating”).

      • Chuck Pearson, Class of 1969

        I frequently had an ice cream sundae for lunch at the Dairy Bar in the late 60s.

  7. Kim Fisher, Class of 2006

    Don’t make me choose between Slope Day and hockey!

  8. Mike Craine, Class of 1994

    You can’t put hockey and Slope Day in the same bracket… That’s not fair!!

  9. Bruce Kirsch, Class of 1970

    I remember the many cold nights being able to stand inside the Truck waiting for my MBC on garlic bread.

  10. Judith Harvey, Class of 1966

    Many of us did not have the money for Louie’s or College Town in the days of cash. Maybe an ice cream once a week – which was definitely there in the 1960’s and before. Interesting that someone else remembers how we women were reduced to play broomstick ice hockey and broomstick polo as ‘entertainment’ at the men’s competitions in the pre-Title IX era.

  11. RICHARD GIBSON, Class of 1968

    Meeting at Jim’s Chapter House after studying or any other reason.

  12. Carolyn Rogers, Class of 1959

    How about young co-eds being asked to ‘watch the submarine races’ ploy?

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