Skip to body


Keeping Wildcat Traditions

The 2016-2017 school year marked the 125th year anniversary of the Central Washington University’s inception. This memorable anniversary was cause for both celebration and remembrance of the 125 years of Central campus life, alumni, faculty, and students. With this in mind, Central asked its students for some direction on a new and important piece of CWU tradition. Thus, the 1891 Traditions Keeper was born, a 100-page booklet that captured the essence of what it’s like to be a Wildcat.

The Traditions Keeper was designed with the student in mind, keeping their views and experiences at the fore-front of the project. This publication is meant to develop over time, with future student’s anecdotes and memoirs contributed to. Those whom have been involved in this tremendous undertaking share the conviction that the individual perspective offers an inherently rich, virtually unmatched source of college history and lure, sufficiently compelling to bind generations of Central’s graduates together to make them realize that the hard work, the expectations, the antics, the fun and camaraderie regenerate with each new freshman class.

Jenna Hyatt, the Director of Residence Life and New Student Programs, describe the Traditions Keeper and what the significance is behind Central’s newest keepsake.

“The traditions were identified through individual entries, surveys, and finally approved through the ASCWU Student Government during several meetings. To launch the program, the book will be distributed to all enrolled students at the CWU Ellensburg campus. In the book, 91 traditions are listed.”

Furthermore, Jenna and Eric Scott, Director of Sophomore Year Experience at Central Washington University, commented on the intricacies of what each freshman student will have to do in order to get a sticker, gain a memory, and become a CWU Traditions Keeper: “Each tradition has a specific task that the student is asked to participate in to receive credit that they experienced the tradition. For some of the events, providing a ticket stub or photo will commemorate the experience,” said Eric.

The project’s success was culmination of several different bodies coming together to create one big takeaway for future students, according to Ryan Armstrong, 2015-2016 CWU Associated Student Body President.

The ASCWU worked with Jenna and Bob Ford, Senior Director of Alumni and Constituent Relations, in securing the project logistically and pushed it along through constituents within the university that had a stake in being part of the project, with student feedback for the 91 traditions facilitated by student government.

A lasting effect for the traditions keeper on the freshman class is really what the Alumni Association and board are going for, hoping that it will bring the class together and bond them for a lifetime.

“I believe it will unify a class of students focused on creating relationships and memories with those around them; eventually creating a culture of students with pride and connection to their alma matter,” Armstrong said. “It was inspiring to see a physical, tangible representation of ‘what it means to be a Wildcat’. I wish I was welcomed to CWU as a first-year student with this sort of bucket list of what I need to do to have a true Wildcat experience.”

Different from the alumni story-telling book titled, “Central Remembered”, 1891 Traditions Keeper was developed with current students in mind, to continue the traditions and story-telling facets, from students through alumni stories.

Bob Ford explains, “The hope is that, with the publication of this work, forwarding traditions becomes established and the appearance of the book will stir alumni to more readily share a part of their legacy of retrospection.”

Story by: Mia Patterson, UA Communications Graduate Assistant, Class of 2017

The Traditions Keeper booklet was converted into a mobile app that was launched in fall 2018. For more infomation visit

Take the Next Step to Becoming a Wildcat.