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Traditions and Spirit

After nearly 130 years, we've built up some longstanding traditions — songs, legends, even our own catchphrase. Want to feel like an insider before you even get to campus? Put on your maroon and gold, break out your keys, and Fire Up! 

Why CMU Chippewa?

Many of the members of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe live on tribal land in Mount Pleasant. Other Chippewa Tribes live throughout Michigan, the United States and Canada. We use the Chippewa name out of pride, honor and respect for their rich culture and heritage.

Our relationship goes much deeper than a name, though. For years, we've worked together on educational and quality-of-life initiatives.

Learn About Our Namesake

Fire Up, Chips!

Students having fun at football tailgate event.

You'll hear it everywhere—Fire Up, Chips! As a greeting. At Fire Up Fridays. From our president. We say it when we're really, really enthusiastic about something. And around here, there's a lot to celebrate. 

Game day

Central Michigan University Marching Band

When you come out to Kelly/Shorts Stadium along with 30,254 of your fellow Chips, you may wonder: Why is everybody playing the imaginary cymbals? And shaking their keys?

It's just part of the tradition. We jingle those keys ahead of—wait for it—key plays. And the cymbal thing started years ago when a cymbal player in the band crashed his instrument over and over. The rest of the student section joined in. The rest is air-instrument history.

After the game, you'll see the band head to Marching Chips Rock, where they'll raise their instruments to celebrate victory. Or sing our alma mater to lament defeat.

Strength in diversity

CMU students walking in the annual MLK march on campus

Inclusiveness, respect and compassion are more than concepts at Central Michigan — they are core values. Every year, we honor and recognize important cultural and heritage awareness months, Pride, Martin Luther King Jr. Week, and more. Other events include:   

  • Celebrating Life Pow wow: Join CMU Indigenous Affairs as we honor indigenous culture and history with traditional dancing, drumming and other activities.
  • Annual Diversity and Inclusion Symposium: CMU students, faculty, staff, alumni and community partners are invited to share their experiences and perspectives during this day-long event.
  • Get Acquainted Day: On the first Wednesday of classes during the fall semester, students of all backgrounds and interests meet faculty, staff and returning students for food, fun and fellowship on Warriner Mall.

Only in college

CMU students in the annual Homecoming cardboard boat race

Your education is forever. So are the memories you'll have of watching industrial engineering students try to paddle a cardboard boat across Rose Ponds. (See that during the Cardboard Boat Race, held the morning of Homecoming.) Or the chills you'll get from the Legends of the Dark campus tour, a haunted-history event that has been scaring CMU for 25 years. Or the stories you'll get watching your fraternity and sorority friends play wannabe rock star during Greek Mock Rock, an annual lip-sync battle.