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A Standing Tradition

September 16, 2016

Why yes, we do expect you to shake everyone’s hand here at Olivet College.

I know how annoying some students think Stand Up is; trust me I’ve been there. My freshmen and sophomore years I refused to participate. Finally, in my junior year, I reluctantly met everyone on this campus. However, after realizing Stand Up was an over 100-year-old tradition, I regret not joining the reception lines my first two years as an Olivetian. Although aspects of the event have been altered throughout the years, we are essentially attending the same event as Olivet College students over a century before us.

We can trace the tradition back to the late 1800s. According to an 1898 Echo article, there is mention of a YMCA Opening Reception, including descriptions of all the young men on campus meeting one another by shaking hands, which is where the origins of Stand Up began, if not earlier. Today, we associate Stand Up as an event following Opening Convocation, accompanied by activities such as bull riding, inflatables, and various activities, followed by a campus-wide picnic. Similarly, in the years following the turn of the century, until the 1930s, Stand Up was an occasion on its own, enjoyed by students, faculty and townspeople alike.

The early years of Stand Up were sponsored by the YW and YMCA. In college archive records, including various alumni scrapbooks, Echo articles, and the Olivetian/ Oaks yearbooks, it is noted that from about 1907 until 1918 Stand Up was held at the Phi Alpha Pi Hall, and at the Old Shipherd Hall parlor rooms in 1920 and 1921, before the Congregational Church become the home of Stand Up from 1922 until around 1927. Yet, as Olivet College continued to grow, so did the Stand Up reception line. Echo articles in the 1930s claim as many as 500 people were presen