Students taking a dip in the Washington Square Fountain, 1970s

Robert Kurzweil (CAS, 1972) and other students at the ducking trough, 1969

Since 1900, a series of initiation ceremonies have welcomed entering NYU students. At the University Heights campus, seniors grabbed unsuspecting freshmen and led them to an early 19th century horse-watering trough. The seniors dunked the freshmen headfirst into what became known as “the fountain of knowledge.” This practice lasted until the 1970s. Other freshman activities — like cooling off in Washington Square Park — now prevail.

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