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The Lawrence Daily Gazette described the event in an article on April 13, 1895:
“To the class of ’96 of the State University belongs the credit of introducing into college circles of the west, that social function so famous in eastern colleges – the Junior promenade. The Fraternal Aid hall [in downtown Lawrence on the southeast corner of Eighth and Vermont streets] as the scene last evening of the pleasant college gathering…The hall was handsomely decorated with cut flowers and potted plants and the class colors, cream and crimson. The refreshments were served on the stage and the balcony was fitted up with tables for crokinole cards and checkers. Dancing was the order of the evening.”
September 15th through October 15th is National Hispanic Heritage Month! To help celebrate, this week’s post offers a peak into the history of the Latin American Student Union.
The KU student organization has been known as LASU since 2017, and the group describes itself as “a non exclusive social space for Latinx students at KU to find community.” According to a 2008 KU news release, LASU was “formed in 1971 as the Association of Mexican American Students.” The group “changed its name in 1974 to Movimiento Estuadiantil Chicano de Aztlan. In 1986, it became known as HALO [Hispanic American Leadership Organization] to better reflect the diversity of Hispanic representation. The group’s mission [was] to meet the academic, social and cultural needs of the Hispanic student population at KU.”
We’re looking forward to the first home game of the KU football season on Saturday. During the first half of the twentieth century, that event would have been celebrated with a Nightshirt Parade tomorrow night.
Nightshirt Parades became a venerable KU tradition. Typically, on the night before the first home game of the season, hundreds of students wearing nightshirts (usually over top of their clothing) would make their way north through campus to Sixth Street, then march east along Sixth until they reached Massachusetts Street. At this point, students would form “into one continuous serpentine line,” which amounted to a fair approximation of a conga line. Single file and holding the person in front of them, the students would weave their way down Massachusetts until they reached South Park where a bonfire would be held in anticipation of the next day’s game. At other times, the route was essentially reversed, with the procession beginning in the park and winding its way onto campus…
The onset of World War II marked the beginning of the end for the traditional Nightshirt Parade. Student enrollments dropped, and the annual procession filled in the depleted ranks by including coeds for the first time. When enrollments revived in the post-war years, the student body contained many veterans attending on the GI Bill. Serious, older, and less impressionable, these students were ill inclined to participate in or otherwise put up with anything they considered collegiate foolishness. They brought an end to the freshman cap tradition at KU, and saw little reason to don pajamas for a public event. Nonetheless, a version of the Nightshirt Parade continued well into the 1950s. However, the event had lost much of its original spontaneity and student enthusiasm for it dwindled.
The last Nightshirt Parade took place in 1957, replaced the following year with a “Traditions Rally.”
With Student Senate elections taking place today, this week’s photograph highlights the election for class officers that took place at KU during the fall semester in 1919.
Student election posters, 1919. Strong Hall is
in the background. University Archives Photos.
Call Number: RG 71/0 1911 Prints: Student Activities (Photos).
Click image to enlarge (redirect to Spencer’s digital collections).
An advertisement for the Loyalty ticket ran in the Daily Kansan student newspaper on October 16, the day before the election: “Loyalty stands for class spirit, student government, faculty student cooperation, [and] better athletic support.”
On October 18, 1919, the day after the election, the Lawrence Daily Journal-World reported the results in a story entitled “Big Vote Was Out at Hill Election.”
The “Status Quo” Senior ticket at K. U., meaning “As It Was Before the War” went “over the top” in the class elections yesterday. Wint Smith being elected president of the senior class with a majority of twenty-five votes over Basil T. Church. Both are Lawrence men. Smith’s whole ticket carried, Eileen Van Sandt of Chanute for secretary running high with 200 votes. Fred Pausch was elected vice-president on the ticket and Warren Blazier of Lawton, Okla., was elected treasurer…
A larger per cent of the students voted in the elections Friday than in any previous year and showed a great amount of interest where there was a contest. Of 350 seniors 320 voted…
In 1947, senior class president Wint Smith was elected to represent Kansas’s (now obsolete) 6th Congressional District. Voters sent Smith to Congress for six more consecutive terms, and he served until 1961.
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