Delaney Ligori Staff
Nicholls State University’s The Nicholls Worth has been reporting on campus-wide affairs since 1948, giving a glimpse into the lost and changing culture of the Bayou Region’s only university.
“Everything we needed to know was in the Nicholls Worth, we looked forward to reading it every week,” says Warren Young, Nicholls alumni class of ’88. “It had class schedules, club meeting details, campus events, and bar schedules for the best nights to drink.”
One of the biggest campus events was Western Week, which started in 1956 and was eventually discontinued in the ’90s. It allowed students that “final let-it-out fling” before exams began. The week included students being hit with eggs, a cow and goat milking contest, tobacco chewing, greased pig contests, hog calling and a game of tug-of-war while being sprayed by a water hose.
A previous issue of the Nicholls Worth in 1963 writes, “The egg throwing, sheep dressing, beard judging, best western dress and cow milking contests were among other things to occupy the attention and provide fun. Yep, pardner, it was fun.”
“Back in the early days of Nicholls, we were very much an agricultural school,” says James Stewart, the Nicholls Worth editor in 1984 and current mass communication professor. “Western week was a big deal, like for us, (now in 2023) Crawfish Day, but even bigger.”
Along with Western Week, The Nicholls Worth also reported on the famous freshman class initiation. In 1968, the students were encouraged to cut their hair. Every other grade classification knew which students were the freshmen.
The Nicholls Worth reported in 1968 as a photo caption, “Freshmen with bright faces and brighter scalps were welcomed to Nicholls… Most of them were men, but there were [many] coeds. After upperclassmen taught them the Alma Mater and the fight song, freshmen were assembled in the [quad] before being dismissed to begin registration. It took seven barbers two hours to clip freshmen’s hair.”
Three weeks after the college opened, the freshman initiated this tradition. With it being only three years after World War II, Nicholls still had some returning soldiers. ROTC on campus was also a big influence.
Traditions remained strong for Nicholls as the campus kept the community involved. Unfortunately, this 2000s decade of undergraduate students have never heard of Western Week or experienced any freshman initiation. Hopefully, this rekindled past memories to reintroduce what has been lost.