University of Idaho Traditions
Courtesy: Idaho Athletic Media Relations
          Release: 09/01/2009
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The Kibbie Dome (ASUI-Kibbie Activity Center) 

Idaho's first football stadium on campus was Neale Stadium, built in 1930. In its place, after it burned in 1969, is the football, basketball and activity complex called the Kibbie Dome. Named after William Kibbie, and using private donations and student fees, the ASUI-Kibbie Activity  Center was constructed and earned the Nation's outstanding structural engineering achievement award in 1976. The Kibbie Dome is looking at a bright future, with new turf laid in 2007 and the launch of a transformation plan to update the structure.

Memorial Gym

Completed in 1928 with the help of $300,000 in funds from the Alumni Association and the American Legion, Memorial Gym stands as a memorial to the men and women of Idaho who lost their lives in World War 1. Memorial Gym was home to many basketball games, boxing matches and student registration events, in addition to nationally broadcasted holiday concerts. The building is now home to University of Idaho women's volleyball matches, the ROTC shooting range and classrooms for recreation courses.


Palousafest is a start-of-fall-semester celebration. Numerous information tables that feature local businesses, campus organizations, and university departments give new students a taste of the Moscow community and on-campus resources. New and returning students peruse the booths, collect giveaways and meet new friends. Following the information fair, students are treated to a concert and outdoor movie. The annual event is sponsored by the Associated Students of the University of Idaho, the Idaho Commons and the Office of the Dean of Students.

Dads' Weekend

Dads' Weekend is an annual event that focuses on fathers and their students. This is a time for students to give their fathers insight into their daily lives at the University, along with participating in weekend activities such as father/student golf tournament, alumni reception and evening entertainment hosted by the Student Alumni Relations Board (SArb), a Vandal football game, living group events like brunch prepared in honor of having their dads in their new hometown of Moscow.


Homecoming is one of the longest running traditions at the University of Idaho. The first homecoming took place in 1909 to motivate alumni to return to campus. Homecoming is held during fall semester, lasts for a full week and culminates with the Homecoming football game. During the week, various living groups and off-campus residents participate in many events from living group decorations, service events, jingles, parade float building and fireworks.

In the early years, the homecoming game was played against rival Washington State College, but today, opponents vary from year to year. On the night before the football game, students form a serpentine that snakes across campus, picking up people on the way to the bonfire and pre-game pep rally lead by the Sound of Idaho Marching Band and the University president.

For years, the homecoming bonfire was said to be the most exciting of all the homecoming events. Freshmen would gather combustible materials, stack them very high, then pour oil all over the structure. Now, the bonfire is slightly smaller, constructed by the homecoming committee and still is an exciting event in which coaches, players, students and fans gather to get pumped up for the game the next day and see the crowning of the Homecoming King and Queen.

Beat BSU Week

In Fall 2006, the Student Alumni Relations Board initiated "Beat BSU Week" to increase school spirit and create a unified student body against the rival Boise State Broncos. The program consists of a number of major events to support Vandal Pride that include a food drive, a bull riding event called "Conquer the Bronc" and the football game to end the week's festivities.


Tailgating and pre-game celebrations have been a tradition for decades. On Vandal Game Day, dedicated alumni come home to the Kibbie Dome to support their alma mater and their football team. Tailgating brings families and students in the community together for one cause-a great time. Laughter, conversation  and music fill the air and the smell of grilled hamburgers and hotdogs makes tailgating a tasty tradition that all Vandals love.

The Sound of Idaho Marching Band

Thanks to our Lionel Hampton School of Music, the University of Idaho has a marching band that not only symbolizes the energy and excitement of the campus, the Sound of Idaho Marching Band is energy and excitement!

These musically inclined students are arguably the greatest supporters of our athletes. There are no auditions necessary to become a member of the marching band- anyone affiliated with the University is welcome to join. Their everlasting enthusiasm and flair adds to any Vandal event and their pre-game and halftime performances bring standing ovations. Band members can be seen on Game Day at the tailgate and Presidents' pre-game, they lead the Serpentine and parade, and are frequently invited to perform at Seattle Seahawks NFL games. The band members are so enthusiastic, many come back as alumni to perform during Homecoming in a special alumni band!

Music and athletics have gone together since the early years of the University. History records a pep band performing at athletic events in 1919. The 1926 Gem of the Mountains notes that the band "served the triple function advertising for the University, playing for the athletic games and in furnishing music for various entertainments on campus."

Spirit Squad

Cheerleading at Idaho has come a long way from the early days of college athletics. In 1897, a Spokane newspaper commented on the University of Idaho's strong "rooting sections" and leading the section were predominately all-male yell leaders. Women yell-leaders were rare and "in 1923, the Argonaut even protested the rudimentary routines that were beginning to infiltrate the yell squads." The trend began to creep along. In 1954, ASUI approved of a squad of "pom pom girls" and their popularity phased out the male yell leaders.

The Vandal Spirit Squad and Dance Team really is "the face of the University of Idaho," composed of three different activities: cheer, dance and mascot. Team members are responsible for attending athletic events and keeping the crowd engaged. The squad also attends other University events, including New Student Services, President's Office and Alumni events as requested. The team in an integral part of creating a fun and spirited atmosphere for fans and players alike.

Joe Vandal

Idaho's student-athletes go by a name earned nearly a century ago by a basketball team coached by Hec Edmunson, whose teams played defense with such intensity and ferocity that sports writers said they "vandalized" their opponents.

The mark made by that 1917 team went far deeper than wins and losses on the court. In 1917, Harry Lloyd "Jazz" McCarty- a writer for the Argonaut- subtly tagged the team with a new nickname in a pre-game write-up. "The opening game with Whitman will mark a new epoch in Idaho basketball history, for the present gang of 'Vandals ' have the best material that has ever carried the 'I' into action." McCarty's indirect suggestion stuck. By 1921, McCarty and Edward Maslin Hulme, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, succeeded in their push to have Vandals officially adopted as the nickname for all Idaho teams.

The University of Idaho is the only institution of higher education to use the mascot of the Vandal. The nickname exemplifies the spirit of the University in more than just athletics; as University of Idaho Vandals, we are fiercely competitive and independent thinkers and doers.

The tradition of Joe Vandal began in the late 1950s when yell leader Bill Currie made a sideline appearance as the spirited and enthusiastic "Joe the Vandal." With a homemade mask created by his mother who worked in the art department, Currie motivated the University's eager fans. Currie was invited to travel with the team and do anything he could to "draw attention to himself."

In the early 2000s, Joe faced a bit of controversy when the traditional mascot costume was replaced with an inflatable suit. The new identity of Joe never received the open welcome some had anticipated. Inflatable Joe's reign was cut short and he was ceremonially deflated to reveal the classic Joe underneath; seeing the rebirth of their beloved Joe, fans went wild. 

Although Joe's looks have changed over time, his spirit is tried and true. He can be seen at athletic events and large campus events all year long. All students, not only athletes, are considered Vandals with the heritage of a fierce Germanic tribe- as described in our Go! Vandals Go! Fight song.