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Traditions Keeper Program



The Traditions Keeper is a distinction that Emporia State University students can earn at the time of their graduation. The purpose of this program is to encourage ESU students to get involved in campus programs and events, strive for high academic success, show black & gold pride, and participate in civic engagement within the Emporia community. 

In order to be awarded the distinction of Traditions Keeper, students must complete at least thirty traditions at the time of graduation. Five traditions from each category must make up the thirty or more traditions completed. Traditions can only be used, counted, and submitted for credit once.

Within the Traditions Keeper Program there are four distinctions that ESU students can earn. They are as follows: 

1. Black Distinction- Completed at least five traditions (one from each category) 

2. Gold Distinction- Completed at least twelve traditions 

3. Corky Distinction- Completed at least twenty traditions 

4. Traditions Keeper- Completed thirty or more traditions (five from each category) 

Reaching each distinction will be acknowledged and awarded by receiving an enamel pin for Black, Gold, and Corky Distinction. Once a student has achieved the distinction of Traditions Keeper, they will be awarded a medallion to wear at graduation.

Step One:


To start the process, simply fill out this quick form and media release.

Step Two:


Each time you satisfy a tradition, submit this form. On the form, you'll indicate which of the four distinctions you qualifying for and then which tradition you are meeting. Finally, you'll attach a photo, document or other tradition that can be used to verify your qualification.

Please remember to submit a new form for each piece of evidence.

Choose from over 65+ ESU Traditions

Black and Gold

  • Attend a Hornet Men’s/Women’s basketball game Attend a Hornet volleyball game in White Auditorium Wave the ESU Flag at a unique location

  • Wear your Black & Gold

  • Sit in the student section and cheer on ESU Football during a home game in Welch Stadium Snap a picture with one of the many Corky statues around campus

  • Follow Emporia State University on social media

  • Wish in the Kellogg Circle Fountain

  • Go around/under the arch in front of King Hall

  • Donate to the Student Foundation

  • Be nominated for Homecoming Royalty

  • Learn the fight song

  • Take a picture with the mascot, Corky

  • Be a part of the Turnpike tussle

  • Participate in an E-zone activity

  • Sit on the hill at Trusler for a Hornet Baseball game

  • Be on Wooster Bridge at midnight

  • Eat in the Hornets Nest

  • Ring Silent Joe

  • Live in one of the three Residential Halls

  • Visit Campus Woods

Academic Success

  • Attend a Hornet Connection

  • Study in the William Allen White Library

  • Visit Visser Hall and study in the Atrium

  • Fill out your intent to graduate

  • Attend a University-sponsored career fair

  • Dress nice for a full day of class

  • Study Abroad

  • Attend a University-sponsored lecture series

  • Meet the University President

  • Get involved in University research

  • Work with your professor to become a teacher’s assistant, in-class tutor, or Graduate Assistant Receive a letter grade of an “A” in a class

  • Visit the One Room Schoolhouse

  • Sit in the front row of a class

  • Join an academic club or honors society

  • Be a member of the Honors College

  • Have an internship

  • Make the Dean's List

Beyond the Classroom

  • Attend a Welcome Week event

  • Be an ESU student athlete

  • Participate in ESU Debate

  • Participate in music, theatre, choir, dance, color guard, or the marching band Get an on-campus job

  • Participate in at least one Recognized Student Organization on campus Attend an ASG Senate Meeting

  • Play an intramural sport

  • Observe the art galleries in King Hall

  • Visit the National Teachers Hall of Fame or Memorial for Fallen Educators Visit the Kansas Business Hall of Fame in Cremer Hall

  • Explore the Richard H. Schmidt Museum of Natural History

  • Explore the Johnson Geology Museum

  • Visit the Peterson Planetarium

  • Attend an ESU Theatre production

  • Attend a ZOIKS/PANTS performance

  • Join a fraternity/sorority

  • Serve as an E-Team Leader or help with Freshman Orientation

Civic Engagement

  • Vote in the ESU Associated Student Government Elections (or run for office!) Be a Hornet Helper or assist with move-in day

  • Participate in a community service event

  • Participate in an Emporia Main Street First Friday Event

  • Visit the Emporia Veteran’s Memorial

  • Donate to Corky’s Cupboard

  • Be named an Emporia State Changemaker

  • Receive an individual RSO Award or Student Involvement Award

  • Attend an event with Community Hornets

  • Clean up trash/leaves around campus or within the community

  • Participate in an Alternative Spring Break Trip

  • Write a thank you note to a professor or faculty member

  • Vote in a primary or general election

  • Donate your blood during a Red Cross Blood Drive on campus

  • Be recognized as a Newberg Outstanding or Distinguished Senior

  • Be recognized as a Patterson, McNair or Shepherd Scholar

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