school spirit
How to Spot a Torero
Well, the cape should be a dead giveaway ...

Have you ever watched the sun go down from the USD campus and felt a part of something bigger?

It turns out that watching a sunset from somewhere on Alcalá Park is a very Torero experience. Helping newbies to campus find out about such uniquely USD happenings is the aim of a poster given to freshmen and transfer students this fall. They’ll learn that “You’re a true Torero once you’ve … attended Mass in Founders Chapel” or “ … stuffed your face at Finals Feeding Frenzy” or “ … put off studying to go to the beach.”

“We have so many great traditions at USD, but we have not been deliberate about acknowledging and promoting them,” explains Sarah Evenskaas ’97, ’03, associate director of Alumni Relations. Seeing the sunset from campus turns out to be one that evokes the fondest of memories over the years. While the spot to see it from may change with the decades, the experience is one that stays.

Even more memorable is making a difference: “Involvement in student organizations and community service has been an important part of the USD student experience for years,” Evenskaas says. “These types of traditions are the core of our university.”

Then there’s the event that may seem kind of geeky at first blush, but turns out to form lasting bonds: the square dance, which has brought freshmen together during Orientation Week (now called “Torero Days”) since the 1980s. “We have a lot of alumni who tell us, ‘I met my husband at the square dance’ or ‘I met my best friend the night of the square dance,’” Evenskaas says.

The project to compile favorite alumni experiences is aimed at ensuring traditions get passed down from one generation of Toreros to the next. Alumni came up with dozens of suggestions, and the list was narrowed for the poster.

New activities are also on the list. Students will be exhorted to learn the new USD Fight Song and to wear “Torero blue” on Fridays. But it’s not all about showing school spirit. What self-respecting Torero hasn’t made a late-night run for Mexican food?

For a longer list of USD traditions or to submit your own, go to