What is your favorite part of Halloween? The costumes or the candy? Since the 1920s, AU students have decorated their dorm rooms and hosted dances on and off campus. In the 1930s, the DC Board of Trade held a parade on Constitution Avenue. AU students had a float in the 1933 parade. AU’s location in Washington, DC has led to some unique traditions such as trick or treating on Embassy Row. In one evening, students can visit a variety of embassies and sample international treats. Partying in Georgetown was all the rage in the 1980s. Two memorable student pranks included painting 1942 on the roof of McKinley in 1941 and painting the flame atop Kay red in 1967.
American University introduced interdisciplinary courses in the late 1960s. One of the first was called “University and Revolution,” a three credit hour independent research course. This course was extremely popular and ran for two years. 250 students enrolled in its first semester. In small, seminar style classes, students discussed topics including the Black student in the university revolution, the individual spiritual awareness and revolutionary social vision, the effects of social revolution on the structures and functions of the contemporary university and the university in revolution centering on the university in the U.S. A volunteer faculty member moderated each of the sections. About once a month the entire class came together for a guest speaker. The Kennedy Political Union provided funding for honoraria for a diverse array of guest speakers including Eldridge Cleaver of the Black Panther Party, Ralph Abernathy from the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, student leaders Ewart Brown (Howard) and Mark Rudd (Columbia), and conservatives Russell Kirk and William F. Buckley. Students enrolled in this pass/fall course had to submit a research paper on their seminar topic. During the second year, the course delved into specific themes such as “White Student Movement and Black Movement: A Contrast and Comparison.” In the fall of 1969, the course leaders Gary and James Weaver, published a compilation of the lectures from the previous year.