Most first-years hear about the Lehigh-Lafayette rivalry during the application process or a campus tour. First-years are finally acclimated to school and cannot wait to enjoy the game. (Shana Lichaw/B&W Staff)

New students, old tradition: First-years continue Le-Laf rivalry spirit

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After 155 years of rivalry and tradition, first-year students enter Lehigh with an understanding of the Lehigh-Lafayette game’s importance. 

Most first-years hear about Lehigh-Lafayette during the application process or a campus tour.

“(Admissions) definitely… stressed the rivalry,” Alexander Fitzgerald, ‘23, said. “I think it was a good selling point for the university.”

The Rivalry is advertised as Lehigh’s biggest tradition. When prospective students come to Lehigh for the first time, they hear about the game in the admissions information session and on the tour, where they see signs of the Rivalry throughout campus, such as the old goal posts that hang in Hawk’s Nest.

“I definitely knew that there was something going on, but I didn’t know the extent of it,” Victoria Drzymala, ’23, said. “I learned a lot more about it when I got here.”

This year, Lehigh has a record number of students on campus due to rising admission numbers. This year’s first-year class consists of approximately 1,400 students. 

With more than 1,000 students in her class, Drzymala said Le-Laf brings them closer together. 

“I think it’s really important that Lehigh has something as powerful as this little rivalry between the two schools because it really brings out our school spirit more than anything else on campus,” Drzymala said. “Just having something to cheer for and a school to cheer against is really important for Lehigh students, and I’m sure it is for Lafayette students as well.” 

Now that first-years have had time to acclimate to the Lehigh culture, many look forward to the actual game on Saturday. 

The Rivalry game will be played at home at Goodman Stadium, which makes it more convenient for Lehigh students to attend.

“I enjoy watching football so I’m looking forward to that, especially because people don’t usually go to the games, so it will be nice to actually have students there,” Max Ferstan, ’23, said.  

Lehigh first-years are also aware of the strong tradition behind the game. 

Ferstan has heard about how the Lehigh-Lafayette game has been played more times than any other rivalry in the nation. 

“I know that Lehigh takes it a lot more seriously than Lafayette,” Ferstan said. “It’s cool that this is the longest rivalry in college tradition.” 

Students notice even more signs of the Rivalry during the week prior to the game. 

Fitzgerald said Lehigh was effective in advertising the game, and he said he thinks it will be fun.

Upperclassmen continue to pass down the tradition of the game to the newest Lehigh members 155 years later.

“I think, as freshmen, we haven’t been pushed into the circle as much yet, so we don’t know as much yet, but I can definitely feel the vibes of excitement coming off my friends and other people that I know,” Drzymala said. “So I know that it is a big deal for campus.”

The game will be held at Goodman Stadium at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 23. 

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