Memories: Maine Hello

Back in the days when hazing was not only expected, it was almost mandatory, the “Maine Hello” meant a little something different than it’s current, toned down version. 

In the late 1940’s and 50’s the “Maine Hello” was something initiated by the administration, in this case President Hauck, which required first year students to wear blue beanies on their heads for the first few weeks of school. Whenever they passed by an upperclassmen the younger students were to give out a big  “HELLO”.

The beanie tradition disappeared sometime after President Hauck left the school and was replaced with traditional paddling and forced streaking across the mall as a way of hazing the first year students. However, in the late 1980’s the administration, in an effort to be a more politically correct, re-vamped the “Maine Hello” into more of a community service day.

Today, the “Maine Hello” is the day first year students move onto campus, usually a day or two ahead of the upperclassmen. Facility and staff (including the University President) greet the students and their families at the curb of their respective dorms and help carry in all of the boxes to their assigned rooms. Inevitably, there are some student, presumably liberal arts majors, who pack with their hearts and not their heads. It happens at least a few times every year outside of every dorm, someone nervous father pulls up in a 22 foot long moving truck, his excited daughter in the passenger seat. The daughter can’t wait to see her room in one of the Hilltop dorms, she grabs the keys after registering, runs down the hall, and opens the door. There sits a small 8 foot by 12 foot room that she has to share with someone else. It’s at that point the first “light bulb” pops into this young child’s brain and she realizes a 22 foot truck might have been over-doing-it.

Regardless of your class, the “Maine Hello” is a unique tradition only to Orono that everyone has a chance to experience. While living on your own for the first time is exciting, it is nice to know your final hours with your parents isn’t spent sweating like pigs as you lug futons and boxes of Ramen noodles up flights of stairs alone.

If you are heading to campus for the first time this week, make sure to check out the University’s website on the “Maine Hello” and as always, fill the steins wisely!

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