Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Freshman Buttons and Bows, 1915-1969
As one part of the many hazing rituals endured by freshman women, first-year Jackson students were required to wear green buttons. The tradition of button-wearing began soon after the college opened in 1910 and continuted until 1931 when, after much student complaint about the buttons ripping clothes, the sophomore class switched to using green bows. The green buttons, and later green bows, served not only to denote a freshman's class rank, but also aided sophomores in their monitoring of how closely first-year Jackson students adhered to all freshmen traditions.
The green bows were worn by Jackson freshmen every day until Freshman Sing, when the bows were burned in a formal ceremony. Prior to 1931, Freshman Sing represented the day when students were allowed to remove their buttons. In 1943, however, a group of Jackson freshmen burned their bows in front of Ballou Hall in protest of the hazing ritual. The sophomore class held a special ceremony in Goddard Chapel to chastise the freshmen for their transgression. Even in the face of such protest, sophomores continued to enforce the tradition.
Jackson freshmen were required to wear thier bows until the mid-1950s. During the following decade, the hazing period was shortened to only three days, with girls participating in specific activities each day. Jackson freshmen sported their green bows, tied at the required height of one inch above their hairlines, during the shortened period. Hazing rituals decreased on college campuses accross the country, however, throughout the 1960s. As a result, the tradition of bow-wearing by Jackson freshmen disappeared by the early 1970s.
Source: TW 5/25/27, 10/22/36, 10/5/50