It’s easy for upperclassmen to identify freshmen. If their baby-faced innocence (ah, life before you know the shaft) doesn’t give them away, ye olde Dragon Card lanyard will. But did you know that up until the 1960s, Drexel had a more definitive way to mark our campus newcomers? That’s right, it was called the dink.
The “dink” was Drexel’s affectionate nickname for the classic freshman beanie. They were tiny blue and gold caps freshmen would slip over the back of their heads and sport for the first week or so of college. And, oddly enough, they were considered kind of cool to wear.
According to The Triangle’s archives, dinks first appeared at Drexel in Oct.ober 1938. The University’s inter-fraternity council, in an act of solidarity, decided all fraternity freshmen would wear dinks of the “same make, color and design” that year, in lieu of marking each fraternity’s freshmen separately.
“Such an action will greatly aid in giving the freshmen more of an atmosphere of college life than hitherto at Drexel,” they wrote.
The following year, in 1939, several Drexel students put in a request with Drexel’s Men’s Student Council to enforce that the majority of the men of the freshman class wear dinks. Their request was initially denied.
“We repeat, why should fraternity freshmen be distinguished with the privilege of wearing dinks while the rest of the Frosh, who are by far an overwhelming majority in the class enrollment, go without this universal adornment? These men want to wear dinks,” reads an anonymous opinion article in The Triangle’s October. 1939 archives. “They enjoy being pointed out as a ‘“green Frosh.’” Let them have dinks. We suggest to the freshmen that if the Student Council continues to ignore your wish, buy dinks and wear them anyway. Who’s to stop you?”
Fear not, the Men’s Student Council couldn’t resist the demand for the dink forever. Beginning in the ’40s, freshmen donning the dink became a coveted tradition at Drexel. This fashion accessory became the primary mark of “hazing,” a period of time during which upperclassmen would acclimate freshmen to campus. The hazing period would last from the second week of September, when the freshmen arrived, until the end of the first week of October.
Dinks were often accompanied by freshmen buttons and “D-books.” Freshmen were assigned designated entrances for Drexel buildings, and had to “pay their respects to A.J. Drexel” if they were found breaking any of the rules or regulations.
Until the the 1960s, Drexel’s freshmen continued the proud campus tradition of wearing dinks. According to the administration at the time, the dink served to foster a collegiate atmosphere. It was easy for professors and upperclassmen to single out Drexel newbies and for freshmen to identify members of their own class.
Unfortunately, the dink’s decline in popularity was not intensively documented in The Triangle. The last mention of them appears in an issue from September 1967.