Round-Up, Then And Now (Slideshow)

UT might be only four days removed from spring break, but Round-Up madness has taken over West Campus. Texas-OU is fall’s greatest holiday weekend, but in spring Round-Up trumps spring break.

After all, Austin is beautiful right now, with high blue skies and trees growing anew, and what better way to celebrate than with a 72-hour party of crawfish boils, neon manks (man tank tops), and washed-up rappers performing at fraternity houses?

Depending on your graduation year, Round-Up may not be the same beast you recall from your time on the Forty Acres. Round-Up began in 1930 when the student government decided to “round up” alumni, entertaining them with barbecues, music, and the pleasure of seeing how much more successful they were than former classmates at the Round-Up Revue and Ball.

A parade was thrown in four years later, and eventually, because Texans love to make everything bigger, the parade got longer, the dances ballooned, and the expenses mounted through the ’50s.

Beginning in the ’60s, students lost interest in spending so much money on one weekend for “old people,” and the student government pulled out. From there, the Ex-Students’ Association began a smaller version of spring homecoming, or Round-Up, and the Interfraternity Council made it a long weekend of parties that signify the unofficial start of “rush.”

Today, Round-Up is a heavily Greek occasion. Fraternities host parties on Friday night and all Saturday, while sororities open up their houses for an array of gastronomical indulgences. You can picnic with Pi Phi for dinner Friday night or head over to Chi O Lu-owl for burgers and then fuel up on Saturday at Tacos with Kappa. The fraternities offer up crawfish boils, foam parties, and musicians like Chip Tha Ripper at ATO or the Josh Abbott Band at Pike.

But just because Round-Up is thrown by the Greek community doesn’t mean the rest of UT doesn’t jump in. Believe me, they do. Walking around at Round-Up, I’m often hit with the fact that I know very few of the people at my own house. Heck, people from TCU and LSU often trek up to party, too.

It’s all fine by me. When it comes to Round-Up, the beauty lies in a student body that is celebrating a gorgeous Austin weekend, preferably while decked out in an array of neon clothing, each article covered in a different sorority’s letters.

Emily Dickinson once wrote that “March is the month of expectation.” This week marks the boiling point of anticipation for many UT students. Coming off the high of spring break, students are eager to step back into the sunshine so they can gorge themselves on cheap food and beer, and maybe get a dance with that Tri-Delt in their history class.

Round-Up is a weekend without time or requirements, only the promise of epic stories and lasting memories. My parents have a pretty good Round-Up story — it’s where they met. My dad was a junior Sig Ep and my mom was a sophomore independent (see, it’s not just Greek people). They dated for a few years, broke up, dilly-dallied around for 12 years, got back together, got married, and had me. It should be a movie, or something.

Which brings me to my question for you, dear readers: what are some of your favorite memories from your Round-Up weekends? Feel free to espouse in the comments section, and please, don’t leave out the good stuff.

Jonathan Rienstra is a junior majoring in journalism.


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