Redefining the Classroom

Laker Traditions

Lake Superior State University has a variety of traditions. Here are just a few to get you started.

Banished Word List

Each new year brings another installment of the school's "List of Words and Phrases Banished from the Queen's English for Mis-Use, Over-Use, and General Uselessness." It has been going strong since New Year's Day 1976 and receives significant media coverage. Word-watchers pull nominations throughout the year from everyday speech, as well as from the news, fields of education, technology, advertising, politics, and more. A committee gathers the entries and chooses the best in December. The list is released on New Year's Day. Check out this year's list of Banished Words.

Snowman Burning

Each March, on or near the first day of Spring, students, alumni and townsfolk gather around a 10 to 12-foot (3.7 m) snowman on campus and light it on fire. The snowman burning is derived from a German tradition in which the mayor of the town burns a snowman to declare an end to winter. The snowmen are usually made out of recycled paper and wire. In 1992, the event was canceled due to protests from the Environmental Awareness Club, a student group at Lake Superior State University. This decision upset many in the community, and the tradition was resumed in 1993. Visit the LSSU Snowman Burning webpage

Unicorn Hunters

The group officially retired in 1987, but their legacy lives on. The group established the banished words list and snowman burning. They also put on stone-skipping tournaments and started a literary magazine. As their name suggests, they also searched for unicorns. Once an ABC News crew found their way to the campus and filmed students "questing for unicorns." Get your Unicorn Hunting license here

Hoholik Victory Bell

The bell which hangs outside the gym entrance to the Norris Center. After each Laker win, the team doffs its skates, pulls on ski caps, and charges down the halls of the building to sound the victory bell. The custom was started soon after the bell was hung in early 1980's. Prior to the 1992-92 season, the bell, which sustained extensive damage from the 1992 NCAA Championship celebration, was replaced with one from a West Troy, New York church.

Ship's Horn

The nemesis of all opposing goaltenders at the Taffy Abel Arena. The authentic ship's horn is mounted high on the wall behind the goal the visitors defend for two periods. It blasts for each Laker goal and following all home games. The horn operates on compressed air.


The I-500 is an annual snowmobile race held at a one-mile oval behind the Norris Center the first Saturday of February. Official Home of the International 500 Snowmobile Enduro Race

Laker Week

Laker Week has been a yearly tradition to welcome back students. It begins on freshman move-in day each year in August and runs for approximately a week and a half. Events include movie on the lawn, Mackinac Bridge walk and a variety of other events to get students acquainted with the University. It's also a great way to meet new friends!

Winter Carnival

Similar to Laker Week, Winter Carnival happens every January a week after the students return from semester break. It's a week full of various events and gets students back in the swing of things!