Thursday, January 31, 2013

COW Days delighting the Coker College campus

Dr. Jason Umfress recently sent an email discussion a long-standing tradition at Coker -- COW Days. I thought it would be interesting for readers to hear his history and perspective and I am sharing Dr. Umfress' email in this space:  (photo is from COW Day events 2012. New one comes up Saturday afternoon beginning at 3 p.m)

Dear Coker,
      You have to have been in a coma this week not to know that we are in the middle of a long-standing campus tradition / celebration - C.O.W. Days!  For those of you who are new to campus, C.O.W. is an acronym for Coker Olympics of Winter.  It is a week-long celebration sponsored by the SGA Spirit & Traditions Committee and Campus Life.  Events such as Lip Sync, the Hunk Contest, kickball, dodgeball and the crowning of Miss COW are just a few of the activities students have been and will participate in throughout the week.  This long-standing, quirky tradition culminates with the playing of the C.O.W Day Games on Saturday morning.  Students are invited to participate in the activities with their classmates to win the coveted title of C.O.W. Days Champions and enjoy a steak dinner afterwards. The  C.O.W. Days schedule is listed below.  For more information, contact the Campus Life Office or a member of the SGA.
      C.O.W. Days is just one of many events we do at Coker in the name of “tradition.”  Traditions, however, are merely repeated actions unless we pause to celebrate the meaning and history behind them.  When I first arrived to campus, I was curious as to how C.O.W. Days got started, so I did a little research.  This is what I found.  
     C.O.W. days began in the fall of 1975 when the newly formed Coker College Union (or CCU) was meeting to plan their spring events.  Professor Fred Edinger, then the Director of Student Life, was the group's advisor.  The students noted the lack of activities during the dull, gray winter months.  After a bit of brainstorming, a student suggested they have a competition where classes would compete against each other in a variety of silly games.  The competition would be modeled after a popular television show at the time, “Almost Anything Goes.”  (Watch this YouTube Video to get an idea:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDTe1h4mCGQ)  The impending Winter Olympics of 1976, to be played in Innsbruck,  Austria, provided inspiration for naming the event the Coker Olympics of Winter.   Under Professor Edinger’s guidance, the students prepared a list of games, solicited participants, and hoped for the best.  To their delight,  C.O.W. Days was an instant success!  Students loved the idea of competing against their classmates, participating in fun activities, and getting a little messy…all in the name of Coker class pride.   The 1976 games were successful, and plans were made to continue the event the next year.  The rest, as they say, is history. 
     While C.O.W. Days games have changed over the years, a few have withstood the test of time.  The egg toss almost guarantees that someone will leave with a little egg on their face.  Tug of war puts class against class in a battle that used to take place over the reflection pool (which was behind Davidson).  And the tobacco spitting contest allows Coker’s ladies to strut…or spit…their stuff for distance and bragging rights.  These, along with other games played at the first C.O.W. Days, are still a part of our celebration today. 
     As we continue the C.O.W. Days celebration, I encourage you to take an active role in contributing to Coker’s rich history and traditions.  Take part in as many activities as you can, pause to appreciate this peculiar Coker tradition, and help us write another successful chapter in C.O.W. Days history.  I hope to see you there!! 

Stay Engaged,
 Jason

Come out and support GREEN MACHINE and VOILET POWER
C.O.W. Days 2013 Schedule
1/28 - Hunk Contest @ 8pm (Davidson)
1/29 – Faculty/Staff vs. Students Dodgeball Game @ 8pm (Gym)
1/30 - Kickball @ 8pm (Bell Tower Lawn) 
1/31 - MISS COW @ 9:30pm (Music Recital Hall)
2/1 - Lip Sync Contest @ 8pm (Davidson)
2/2 - COW Day Games @ 3pm (Bell Tower Lawn)
2/2 - COW Days After Party @ 10pm (Cobra Den)

Jason W. Umfress, Ph.D

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