The upcoming Hey Day marks the seventy-fifth year of the tradition. However iconic the day is, another year of saying “hey,” will not mean anything unless it surpasses the surface level.
Hey Day is centered around student inclusion and engagement. The day’s origin can be traced to students returning from World War II in 1947. The soldiers found it difficult to reacclimate to campus life, and they felt invisible and lost.
In response, Auburn’s Student Government Association took it upon themselves to make these students realize that they were welcomed, appreciated and a part of the Auburn family. They handed out name tags and greeted people by their first name.
And just like that, “Hey Day” was born.
Not all students in 2022 are returning from war, but many are having trouble feeling like a part of the Auburn family — whether they express it or not. New students, old students, potential students and alumni can all find common ground with this tradition.
Hey Day, past and present, is a way for people to connect with each other. It represents history, encouragement, camaraderie and personal growth. It is only a few hours in duration, but its effects can last for years.
That is why this tradition is beloved and enduring.
Being able to greet someone by their name is an intrinsic part of the human experience, but it is glossed over in college culture. It is so easy to forget someone’s name or not put forth the effort to learn it in the first place.
Hey Day is about resisting the inclination to be apathetic and counterbalancing the habit of disassociating.
On top of being enabled to greet people by their first name, students are also able to spend quality time together doing fun activities outside of an academic atmosphere.
The festive events that come with Hey Day are an opportunity to bond, reconnect and spend time with friends. Even striking up a conversation at the name tag table is an opportunity to meet someone new.
Hey Day is such a unique tradition and opportunity for Auburn students to become better acquainted. It is a massive display of the Auburn family, and it can make a difference in someone’s life if it is used in the right way.
As name tags are handed out and you walk past events on the campus green, don’t take this day for granted. Remember what the tradition is about. Furthermore, remember what the Auburn family is about.
College is known for being a time of community and personal growth, but a college environment can be difficult to feel seen in. It isn’t always obvious when someone is struggling or feeling distant — perhaps this is you.
Hey Day can either be a repetitive, surface-level tradition, or it can be a day that means something. Hopefully, by wearing the nametag and being greeted by your name, you will find the motivation to meet someone new and deepen the Auburn family a little bit more.
The opinions expressed in columns and letters represent the views and opinions of their individual authors.
These opinions do not necessarily reflect the Auburn University student body, faculty, administration or Board of Trustees.
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