Origins of Groundhog

Groundhog has not always had live performances. Its origins were an informal celebration organized by students. Photo by Anthony Garnier

This past Saturday, both students and alumni of the University of Dallas community celebrated their 54th annual Groundhog celebration.

According to, UD has the second-largest Groundhog party in the world, following only that of Punxsutawney, Pa.

Just as the university is united with its Core curriculum, UD and Groundhog are inseparable. Students wear their Groundhog sweatshirts that serve as their tickets into the park throughout the year. With this, the school is constantly reminded of its tie to its Groundhog tradition, which is just as big as Charity Week.

The tradition at the school began when some students decided that they wanted a school holiday. Groundhog was chosen, and everyone at the university — and around the nation, apparently — knows where that led them.

The Groundhog has arguably become the more popular school mascot, surpassing the school’s official Crusader.

Alumni across the country have taken the tradition of Groundhog with them.  There are now UD alumni that hold mini Groundhog Party in the Parks across the country.

However, the celebrations that we as students in 2017 know have not always existed.

Alumni have said that the festivities were a tad less exciting in the 1990s.  The Party in the Park was not on campus as it has been in more recent years, and students took a bus to the site. There was no live music, either.

While Groundhog was an official school event, there was a feeling that the event was not as established as it is today. Two alumni described the earlier Party in the Parks as very cold — although that hasn’t changed — and said that they felt rather lost in the strange woods and bonfires.

This is in stark contrast to what we see 20 years later. In this year’s Party in the Park, the lights from the stage for live performers flashed onto the highway just across from Madonna. Students simply had to walk across campus to take part in the festivities.

The tradition of Groundhog is so iconic because it is truly student-made and unique to UD. The fact that students created the event makes it more special for the UD community because its nature is tailored to the student body.

There is no pressure of a dance where a guy must ask a girl to go along with him and get all dolled up for a single night. Groundhog is stress-free in this regard.

It is casual and laid-back, and it provides an excellent break for the hard-working UD students.


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