First Year Run
First Year Run was initiated in 2000 by then-director of NSOP Dina Epstein (C '01), who has since gone on to become an admissions officer for Columbia. On the first night of NSOP, students gather in Roone Arledge Auditorium in Lerner Hall for Class Act, after which they are ushered out the back onto Broadway, where they pass through a cordon of cheering NSOP coordinators, finally passing through the 116th Street gates, officially becoming Columbia students. In recent years, members of the CUMB have played at this event in exchange for early dorm move-in privileges.
Similar traditions at peer schools
Some of Columbia's peer schools have similar, though much more established, traditions. For example, at Princeton the entering first year class marches through the Nassau Street gates of the campus and are warned never to exit through them again until Commencement lest they be cursed and fail to graduate. This tradition was probably created in order to instill the penitential, soul-sucking aura of Princeton in the freshman class as soon as humanly possible. Students who take the legend seriously diligently exit through one of the two smaller gates next to the main Nassau gates. No similar legend has been attached to the Columbia 'tradition', probably because exiting and entering the gates is a routine necessity given how often other campus entrances are closed for security purposes at night. Not to mention that College Walk was an open street until the 1950s, and the gates weren't installed until the 1970s.
Nevertheless, it's your first taste of administratively administered tradition at Columbia. Enjoy!
- "Class Act": A New Tradition for the Class of 2004, Columbia Record, Vol. 26 No. 01, 4 September 2000