by Ben Anderson–
On March 30, Virginia Tech’s class of 2020 filed into Squires Student Center and made their way to the Commonwealth Ballroom for the 2019 Ring Dance, a tradition stretching back to 1934.
According to the Virginia Tech Alumni website, the event started in 1934 by members of the Corps of Cadets, and, aside from a number of years during World War II, the event has happened every year since. The ceremony is supposed to be a celebration and representation of the junior class transitioning into their senior year at Virginia Tech.
Many of the traditions from that first dance carry on today, such as dates wearing each others rings around their wrist with ribbon, according to Virginia Tech’s history page on its website.
While traditions live on, some have had to change over the years, explains Laura Wedin, Associate Director of Student and Young Alumni Engagement at Virginia Tech. One example of these changes, was the ending of freshmen cadets releasing a live pig at the dance.
Some traditions have changed, but main stays such as the sabre arch and ring figure still hold strong today. “It’s that tradition and continuity that I think makes Virginia Tech Virginia Tech,” said Wedin on why this event is so special to the school.
Each year the celebration attempts to represent that class, both on the ring at the dance. “Tech has been redesigning a new ring each year, including different elements,” Wedin explained. This years ring features images of Lane Stadium, Gobblerfest, and the popular horse on a treadmill video.
Kate Avdellas, a senior at Virginia Tech, worked on the class of 2019’s ring committee. Looking back at her own ring dance, she stated, “it’s that moment when you’re like, wow, I’ve been here for three years. I only have one left, and it’s a really great night to reflect on your time at Virginia Tech.” She went on to say how proud she was to be a part of a tradition that has stayed strong for so many years.
For many students, the latter half of their college careers can seem daunting and intimidating as they look only to the future and what life after college will be like. Ring Dance is an opportunity for these students to slow down and enjoy the moment, while reminiscing on the times they have had at Virginia Tech. For over eighty years, students have participated in this historic event and continue be for years to come.