VEISHEA

Traditions at Iowa State

Imagine planning an event like VEISHEA, but with no office space for student meetings and no financial reserves. The year was 1922, and the VEISHEA Central Committee was meeting for the first time. They met at Beardshear (the Memorial Union hadn't been built yet), and for each meeting they had to ask a janitor to help them find and unlock a room.

But the administration was solidly behind their effort: to combine the celebrations of the different divisions (today called colleges), which had resulted in too many unauthorized student holidays. The engineers skipped classes for their St. Patrick's Day parade; the home economics women skipped classes for their May Day dance; the agriculture students skipped classes for their Ag Carnival. But could one festival combine all the traditions of the separate divisions - Veterinary Medicine, Engineering, Industrial Science, Home Economics, and Agriculture? The answer was a resounding "yes!"

Not only did the student planners combine the first letter of each division to name the festival, they also wove together a combination of traditions that has stuck: college open houses, a student musical performance (now called "Stars Over VEISHEA"), canoe races, a parade, and, of course, cherry pies.