If you are at all familiar with Concordia College, you are probably aware of the Cobber Beanie. However, you may be unfamiliar with its history. The very first beanies were known as Green Caps and were introduced in the fall of 1922. The Green Caps were made of green felt and were decorated with a maroon ribbon. During World War II, the German-produced dye became inaccessible and thus signaled the end of the Green Cap era in 1942. Fortunately, beanies would return some years later new and improved. In 1954, first-year orientation clubs were born and beanies were reintroduced in 1955. The new beanies were gold with a maroon C, which is the same style used today (transfer students receive a maroon beanie with a gold C). The beanie tradition has been going strong ever since with the exception of the 1965 hiatus when the freshmen refused to don their beanies. The duration of which freshmen are expected to wear their beanies has fluctuated with the times. In their early years, beanies were to be worn through the entirety of Homecoming. As the years passed, beanies were donned until the first Cobber touchdown in the fall football season. Later it was changed to the first pep rally of the year. In 1996 the Beanie Toss was introduced, which is the tradition followed by students today. The Beanie Toss follows Opening Convocation and the freshmen gather on Olin Hill to free themselves of their beanies signaling the end of Orientation. Beanies are a rite of passage and freshmen should wear them proudly, for it keeps the Cobber spirit and tradition alive and well. One only must be careful to not let a Dragon snatch it!
Corn Feeds are a special time to gather with fellow Cobbers and to bond over a meal of Concordia's mascot... corn on the cob. The following is the proposal used for the 1985 Corn Feeds:
"April 23, 1985
Cobber Corn Feeds were initiated in 1973 with events in Minneapolis/St. Paul and Fargo/Moorhead. Although it began solely as an alumni event, the Corn Feed purpose has expanded to strengthening the relationships between Alumni, parents, students, and friends at Concordia. Corn Feeds are expensive, however their importance is as follows:
I. Corn Feeds allow over 3,000 people to gather and re-connect themselves with Concordia and its mission. (approximately 16.6% of our constituency)
II. Corn Feeds allow Alumni, parents, friends, and students to renew their relationships with each other, strengthening Concordia's 'family.'
III. Corn Feeds are a tradition. Our constituency have begun to expect them. Cutting the number would inspire negative feelings among much of our constituency.
IV. Corn Feeds are recognized nationally. Concordia's reputation outside of our constituency is strengthened due to the Corn Feeds' uniqueness.
V. Corn Feeds help to increase Alumni giving through the 'warming up with an event' approach."
There will be a Corn Feed tonight, August 19th, on Bishop Whipple Lawn at 5:30 PM.
The 1929 Concordia yearbook, The Scout, features an interesting extra-curricular: the Konkordia Kookoo Klub. At first I feared it was some sort of division of the KKK, but fortunately, it was not. The Konkordia Kookoo Klub had a mission to "instill a little bit of 'kookooness' into the mind of every Cobber and friend of Concordia, thus enriching life--and making it more worthwhile." Their motto was "life is just one kick in the pants after another!" Even more amusing was their application. Here are some highlights...
"Application to the Konkordia Kookoo Klub
Information: Remember, every word will be held against you so answer carefully. Do not answer with invisible ink. Please answer these questions in alphabetical order.
1. What is your name? (No aliases accepted)
2. Do you think? If so, why? When?
3. Do you smoke, drink, go stepping, indulge in ski-jumping, or partake in any such form of dissipation?
4. Do you ever actually study?
5. Have any of your ancestors ever had any dangerous contagious diseases such as dandruff, halitosis, B.O.?
6. Do you always get up for breakfast?
a. Do you brush your teeth before or while eating?
b. Do you ever come late for meals?
7. Can you sing, dance, play music, basketball, or tag?
a. If so, who said you could?
8. When did you first feel the conversion to Kookooness coming on?
a. How did it affect you? b. Where?
9. If admitted, into this austere secret and exalted organization would you live up to its laws? Its by-laws? Tri-laws?
11. Are you sure?
12. Do you chew and masticate thoroughly your finger nails? (Justify your answer by means of the Epicurean philosophy.)
13. Honestly now, have you sworn off slapping prexy on the back?
14. Do you go to the bookstore for your mail or your female?
15. Are you kookoo? (Maybe, perhaps, and no are acceptable as answers)
16. Do you believe in letting your studies interfere with your extra-curricular activities? (Shame on you)
17. Are you a junior, senior, or a Norwegian? (If so, what part?)
18. Do you read, write, or wrong?
19. Define IT. (No other case of this pronoun permitted)
20. Has anyone ever viciously accused you of thinking? Cite one instance."
Current students and alumni can all agree that Concordia has an unparalleled sense of community. Concordia acts as a second home for many and the bonds built here are analogous to familial ties. This deep-rooted sense of care dates back to Concordia's early years. An iconic figure who helped to instill this sense of family was Helga Fjelstad. She was hired in 1895 to be the matron of the school. As head matron, Fjelstad's duties included feeding the students (which she did on a very small budget) and overseeing all the activity pertaining to the dining hall. She took this task seriously and was known to teach students proper etiquette because some did not even know how to use a fork. Fjelstad was also admired for her comforting presence. She would often invite students into her kitchen for some hot coffee and free advice. Students who were close to her recalled how Fjelstad "always gave us kindly advice and comfort when it was most needed and did it in a way... that reminded us of mother." Expanding the family to also include sisters, the Big Sister program was established in 1922. Similar to the current Peer Mentor system, new students were assigned to upper-class women who helped them acclimate to college life. Big Sisters met incoming Cobbers at the train station, brought them to their dorms, helped them to register, and gave them tips and tricks to being a successful college student. To symbolize these strong connections post-graduation, the official college ring was introduced in 1920. It was designed by Concordia alumnus and jeweler Oscar Martinson. The Cobber Ring has become a widely recognized, trademark symbol of Concordia College and connects the Cobber family from all corners of the world.