The Archivist’s Nook: Dinks, Paddles, and Sophs! Oh My!

Freshmen dink and Sigma Pi Delta Fraternity jacket and paddle (Courtesy of Paul Rybcvzyk, BA 1972, MA 1977)
Freshmen dink and Sigma Pi Delta Fraternity jacket and paddle (Courtesy of Paul Rybcvzyk, BA 1972, MA 1977)

As the summer days wane and a fresh academic year begins, new and old faces alike are appearing across campus. Other than the confused look on some faces trying to locate O’Boyle Hall, both new and returning students alike will soon be an indistinguishable part of the campus community. However, in the past, telling the newcomers apart from the old timers was much easier, thanks to a small cap.

As the institutional memory of the University, the Archives prides itself on recording the life and times of the campus community. Though, frankly, it is often easier to secure official records than snapshots of the daily lives of students. However, with that said, many alumni have generously donated documents and artifacts from their student days. These collections include everything from nursing student capes to Greek life paddles. Yet, there is one object that many of these alumni donations share; one object that students across the decades often have in their possession. This shared artifact is the freshman dink.

A longstanding CUA tradition spanning much of the twentieth century, a cap called a dink or beanie was given to freshmen. As a form of induction into the campus community, upperclassmen required new students to don a special cap and badge marking them out as a newbie. Sometimes an official induction ceremony known as “The Capping” was also performed. These beanies were not the only requirement. Policed by the sophomore class, the freshmen were assigned a series of mandates to obey. Continue reading “The Archivist’s Nook: Dinks, Paddles, and Sophs! Oh My!”