We Got Spirit, Yes We Do!

Can you believe it? Last month, I earned my lovely title: NYU alum. So, as I reflect on the past four years, one of the things I always fall back on is the variety of traditions that we have here at NYU. Plus, a lot of these traditions are free! So consider this article my parting gift to future NYU generations. Keep scrolling to learn more about the NYU traditions (in no particular order) that you must take advantage over the next four years. Let that school spirit shine!


Free Tickets! Broadway Shows, Movie Screenings, and Sporting Events.

Sometimes, tickets for entertainment can be quite expensive. Especially if you are on a student budget. Fortunately, NYU has a performing arts center right on campus, the Skirball Center for the Performing Arts, that offers free and discounted tickets for NYU students. What’s more, at Skirball there are plenty of off-Broadway performances, which keeps entertainment prices low. Thanks to ScholasTix, NYU’s exclusive clearinghouse for tickets, I attended a red-carpet screening of Netflix’s Luther for free and saw Idris Elba! Plus, as an alum, I still have access to these discounted services! In this article, Admissions Ambassador Maggie goes more in depth about all things Skirball.

The author holds their free ticket to the red-carpet screening of “Luther” in front of the Paris Theater’s marquee.
My free ticket to Netflix’s red-carpet screening of “Luther” at the Paris Theater!
The “Luther” cast host a Q and A session with the audience at the Paris Theater.
The “Luther” cast hosting a Q and A session with the audience at the Paris Theater.
V100 Concert

In addition to discounted tickets, Violet 100 (V100 for short) is a week of marquee events that you do not want to miss! In this article, Admissions Ambassador Eshika describes the events that take place during the week more in depth. However, my favorite V100 event was certainly the V100 Concert. NYU Program Board is the student-run organization responsible for leading the V100 Concert, and they put on a great show each year. As a result, the concert features student and celebrity performances. At the 2020 V100 Concert, Roddy Ricch and Chief Keef performed. Then, in 2022, Doechii and Earl Sweatshirt headlined. Do not worry if you cannot make V100—the NYU Program Board hosts plenty of smaller concerts throughout the year. In summary, if you like concerts, check out NYU Program Board!

Rapper Chief Keef performing at the V100 Concert, an NYU tradition, in 2020.
Rapper Chief Keef, 2020.
Rapper Roddy Ricch performing at the V100 Concert in 2020.
Rapper Roddy Ricch, 2020.
Rapper and singer Doechii performing at the V100 Concert, and NYU Tradition, in 2023.
Rapper and singer Doechii, 2022.
Rapper Earl Sweatshirt performing at the V100 Concert in 2022.
Rapper Earl Sweatshirt, 2022.
“UltraViolet Live”

Now, who could forget UltraViolet Live (UVL)? UVL showcases some of the best student talent at NYU. Sponsored by the Inter-Residence Hall Council, UVL is in its 19th year running. These brave and talented students showcase various talents ranging from dance and singing to juggling and acrobatics. After UVL, some performers go on to become amazing entertainers. For example, you may be familiar with a special someone known as Lady Gaga, who placed third at UltraViolet Live when she was at NYU. Whether you are performing or supporting, UVL will leave you massively impressed. It’s free for all students and is often hosted by celebrity guest judges.

A student sings a song onstage at “UVL,” an NYU tradition.
A student performs an original song at “UVL.”
Student competitors earn cash prizes at “UVL.”
Student competitors earn cash prizes at “UVL.”
“UVL” celebrity guest judges, Brittney Johnson, D'Arcy Carden, and Camryn Manheim and host Kim Chi, onstage.
“UVL” celebrity guest judges, Brittney Johnson, D’Arcy Carden, and Camryn Manheim (left). “UVL” host, Kim Chi, of “RuPaul’s Drag Race” (right).
A student band performs onstage at “UVL.”
A student band performs onstage at “UVL.”
Welcome Week

For many, New York City might be a new place. Do not fret. The NYU tradition that celebrates the start of each seamster, Welcome Week, will help you feel more at home. What’s more, Welcome Week is a tradition that is so festive it requires its own section on the NYU Mobile App! With giveaways, themed hangouts, and marquee events like Silent Disco, CASino Night, and Drag Bingo, you will surely feel welcomed to your NYU home.

Welcome Week leaders dancing in Washington Square Park, an NYU tradition.
Welcome Week leaders dance in Washington Square Park.
Students shop at Bed Bath & Beyond, a Welcome Week tradition.
During Welcome Week, NYU students attend an event at Bed Bath & Beyond, featuring a DJ, shopping, free swag, and prizes!
The Presidential Welcome and “Reality Show: NYU” at Radio City Music Hall

Sure, Welcome Week is wonderful, but I think the Welcome Week performance Reality Show: NYU deserves its own section because of how memorable it is. You and your class will load the subway and take a trip to the legendary Radio City Music Hall. Once you arrive, the president of NYU will welcome you. Following the Presidential Welcome, you’ll experience Reality Show: NYU, a funny musical prepared by NYU students. It covers what your experience for the next four years might be like through a series of comedic sketches and original songs. Amazingly, the show is written, performed, and produced by NYU students. So if you fall in love with the musical, do not be afraid to audition! What’s more, the show is open to the entire NYU community. So you can feel free to attend every single year. You may find something new each time!

Students dance onstage for “Reality Show: NYU,” another university tradition.
Students performing in “Reality Show: NYU” following the Presidential Welcome at Radio City Music Hall.
President Andrew Hamilton addresses the NYU Class of 2023 at the 2019 Presidential Welcome.
President Andrew Hamilton addresses the NYU Class of 2023 at the 2019 Presidential Welcome.
Ferry Ride Party!

Have you ever wanted to party on a cruise? Have you ever wanted to party on a cruise while singing “Empire State of Mind” in front of the Statue of Liberty? You do not want to miss the FYRE Moonlight Cruise party. First-year students can join the cruise as part of the FYRE—First Year Residential Experience. Not a first year? Don’t worry—there’s a spring cruise and a senior cruise, too!

A Instagram story of students singing “Empire State of Mind” to the Statue of Liberty on the FYRE Moonlight Cruise, an NYU tradition.
IHRC Flurry

Baby, it’s cold outside. Why not warm up at the Inter-Residence Hall Council’s (IHRC) annual Flurry? During Flurry, the Wollman Rink in Central Park is open to NYU students to ice-skate for four hours. There, students skate, enjoy hot cocoa, and capture the memory at a photo booth with a friend to keepsake the moment.


“IRHC Flurry! It’s when NYU rents out Wollman Rink in Central Park and we get to skate around with the rest of the school for hours! It’s always one of those ‘NYU-specific’ experiences for me.” —Eshika (she/her), Tandon ’23

Admissions Ambassador, Eshika.

“Flurry!!! Every year, NYU rents out the Central Park ice rink for the student body. It’s such a fun, festive tradition and great bonding experience for everyone.” —Samantha (she/her), Gallatin ’23

Two NYU students ice-skating in Central Park during NYU Flurry.

Club Fest

With over 300 student clubs and organizations, you will surely find something that piques your interest. Plus, if you have not found an established club or organization that interests you, you can create your own! That’s what my friends did when they created NYU’s first community for Black students aspiring to be health-care professionals, the Black Student Health Association. The world is your oyster, but Club Fest simply makes it easier to get started. Club Fest occurs during both the fall and spring semesters, providing the information you need to get involved. There are all-university as well as school-specific clubs.


Two students behind a table filled with candy at Club Fest.

“My favorite NYU tradition is definitely club fest! I love coming together with my friends within the Literacy Matters e-board to meet new people and inform students about educational advocacy in the city. It’s also a great way to get involved on campus and learn about the many communities NYU has to offer.” —Elena Garcia (she/her), College of Arts and Science ’25

Strawberry Festival

Do you like strawberries? Do you like music? What about a moon bounce slide? For the past 35 years, Strawberry Festival has taken place outside NYU’s Bobst Library to celebrate the talents of local artists and vendors. The four-hour festival is hosted by NYU Program Board and is free for NYU students and the public. It is an afternoon of music, merch, games, food, and the legendary 160-square-foot strawberry cake! It’s delicious!

Students gather for a concert at the 2023 Strawberry Fest, an NYU annual tradition.
Students gather for a concert at the 2023 Strawberry Fest.
The legendary 160-square-foot Strawberry Fest cake, presented on a table.
The legendary 160-square-foot Strawberry Fest cake.
Many, Many Formals

Sure, you may have graduated high school, but this does not mean that you have graduated from the opportunity to experience a prom-like dance. NYU formals are a chance for you to dress up with your friends in your most distinguished black-tie outfits, enjoy a tasty buffet, dance along to a jamming DJ, and settle down at an open bar (for eligible guests, of course!) at gorgeous venues around New York City. Apart from the university-wide formals, there are formals exclusively for your class, formals based on your school, and even a formal at Bobst Library! Who would have thought a library could turn into a party? Some formals require payment, but that typically covers a full-course meal and drinks.

An orchestra plays at Hall des Lumières for NYU’s Moonlight Ball.
An orchestra plays at Hall des Lumières for NYU’s Moonlight Ball.
A projection screen reads, “IRHC’s 22nd Annual Moonlight Ball ‘Ad Astra.’”
Students socialize at Hall des Lumières for NYU’s Moonlight Ball.
Students socialize at Hall des Lumières for NYU’s Moonlight Ball.
Commencement at Yankee Stadium

“Welcome to New York, it’s been waiting for you!” After four long years at NYU, celebrate your successes at the Yankee Stadium. To commemorate our success, the Empire State Building glows a glorious violet. It is also part of NYU tradition that an honorary degree recipient delivers a speech to the graduating class. This year, the Class of 2023 was honored by the 46th Prime Minister of Finland, Sanna Marin. The year prior, singer-songwriter Taylor Swift was the honorary recipient who addressed the Classes of 2020, 2021, and 2022.

You’re Just Getting Started

Wow! You really have an eventful four years ahead! Keep in mind that the list I curated is just a small fraction of the events and traditions that take place at NYU. No matter the event you attend, I guarantee you will take away unforgettable memories. Who knows? One day you may reflect on these memories and write an article about them :).

Esofi Nunyi is a senior in the College of Arts and Science studying Global Public Health and Sociology on the premed track. Born in Maryland, Esofi is an east coast native but spent some time living in North Dakota. Aside from being an Admissions Ambassador, Esofi enjoys going for walks in the city and trying new foods!