How To Tell You’re Not From McMaster University

Photo by Nguyen Khanh Ly on Unsplash

Upon reading this article, you may laugh thinking about some of the memories you’ve made as a student at McMaster University. Marauders, like us, have been through unique events, secrets, and experiences that no one outside of this school will ever understand. 

So folks, let’s see if you know/experience anything I’m about to mention!

Mac the Marauder 

If you don’t go to this school, then you probably have no idea what our mascot is.

Actually, do you even know what a marauder is? It’s okay if you don’t. The term marauder refers to an animal or person who wanders around in search of opportunities to steal or kill. They are basically dangerous creatures…

Our mascot at McMaster University is an eagle to be precise, but not just any eagle, it is a marauder. It was first decided on a name for our mascot in 1948. Traditionally, our football team was called the “maroons” because of the university’s maroon color. However, after debating on a few names over the years, the team decided to be known as “the marauders.”  

It’s likely that you’ve just learned two new things: McMaster’s mascot is an eagle named Mac the Marauder and the definition of the word marauder. 

One, we are from MAC! Two, a little bit louder…

Would you be able to finish the cheer? Most likely not if you don’t go to this school.

McMaster University is renowned for its energetic spirit, which is shown by the cheers they perform. It is likely that during welcome week you will hear a variety of cheers from all over campus. Throughout the school, residence buildings, programs, and faculty all have their own cheers. 

One of McMaster’s main cheers that every student should have heard at least once is the one mentioned in the title “One, we are from MAC!” Almost every student should be familiar with this university’s main cheer. When you hear someone yell a random saying and others join in with it, but you’re confused… then that’s how you’ll know you don’t go here.

“One, we are from MAC! Two, a little bit louder! Three, I still can’t hear you. Four, more more more… One!” 

Now that you know this chant, you’ll be prepared to join in during welcome week! 

Welcome Week!

Each university has its own fun introduction week for first-year students, but no other university has a welcome week like McMaster. Welcome week happens the week before classes begin, and this is a great time for students to get to know each other and make memories. 

Some events and activities that occur include art & crafts, obstacle courses, socials, trivia/movie nights, bonfires, faculty day, and concerts with special guest performers. Many of the activities that happen during the week are with all first years together, except on faculty day. 

Faculty day is a time for first-year students to spend time with their peers within their faculty. It gives them the chance to make friends with whom they are more likely to have classes. During this time, you are also surrounded by upper-year representatives who manage the activities. These representatives are also excellent resources for questions you have about your program. 

Bonfires, trivia games, and movie nights are great ways to cap off an activity-filled day. This is a good opportunity to chill out with your new friends while also getting to learn more about them.

Okay, but do you not just love to listen to music and see concerts? There’s no doubt about it! A great way to end welcome week would be to attend an exclusive McMaster concert. Perhaps you are reading this while thinking about the welcome week concerts you attended featuring artists like Post Malone and Bryce Vine. I hope the new students will have the opportunity to attend concerts with other well-known musical artists. 


It’s not possible to forget the street parties that took place during fake homecoming. FOCO, as it’s known, is a day set aside to socialize with others while walking down a closed street. Anyone familiar with Hamilton will recognize Dalewood Avenue. For one day, this street is closed when FOCO takes place. 

In McMaster clothing, students and friends from other universities fill the streets as they socialize with one another and drink in the street. This has become a McMaster tradition, however, the university isn’t involved in the celebrations of FOCO. The reason for having a fake homecoming is because McMaster does not endorse a real one due to too many students partying “too hard”. It is common for students to end up in the hospital after drinking too much or injuring themselves physically. The university does not interfere with FOCO, but they do send out a few McMaster patrol officers to keep an eye on students just in case any dangerous situations arise. 

Regardless, McMaster students and other post-secondary schools still go LOCO for FOCO every year because they party all night and day. There are countless parties at FOCO, and if you’ve never heard of them, you’re definitely missing out.  

Luck of the Irish

That’s right, you guessed it. During St. Patrick’s Day, McMaster students party hard once again. Except that these events are even bigger than FOCO’s.

St. Patrick’s Day offers students an additional opportunity to socialize and enjoy themselves. It is rumored that McMaster’s St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are the largest among universities in Ontario (I would say Canada, but I’m sure there are more universities in Canada that might have larger celebrations). Many students from other universities drive down to join in on the celebrations that happens at McMaster.

Whether you’ve heard about the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations at McMaster or not, the Luck of the Irish is here. Now that you know about it, maybe we will see you again in Hamilton for the future St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. 

The Tunnels 

Underground tunnels… that’s right, McMaster University has built underground tunnels that students can use to get to other buildings. If you are not from this university, then you will definitely be confused. 

The tunnels under a few of the residence buildings lead to one of the campus restaurants. No matter how cold or how hot the weather is, these tunnels are constantly in use. It’s just a faster and easier way to get from one place to another without having to step outside. 

Perhaps you’re trying to avoid someone outside of your residence building. You may be wearing your pajamas and don’t want to show everyone outside your building. Maybe there’s so much snow that you can’t even get out to get food. The tunnels underground are the new way to get around campus, whatever the reason may be. 

There are also tunnels under other buildings, such as the Student Center and other buildings where you might have lectures. Tunnels are used by many students to get from class to class because they are faster… if you know where you’re going of course. 

For those who have never used the tunnels before, the best time to use them is when you don’t have classes so you can learn where each tunnel leads. It is good to learn the directions especially during the months where the weather becomes unbearably cold.  

According to rumors, every residence hall and other older buildings on campus have underground tunnels, but they have been closed to the public. Interested in knowing why? It is a mystery to me too. There is a possibility that the tunnels are too old and may be difficult to navigate. 

There are more guides like this one. Explore Top Things You Need To Know About McMaster University to learn more and Gain access to new scholarships and guides by becoming a member today at Sign Up Here.

Published on September 7, 2021

About Marisa Manichan

“Hi everyone! It is my pleasure to introduce myself as Marisa Manichan, a third-year student in McMaster University’s Honours Commerce program. My goal is to graduate with a Bachelor of Commerce degree with a specialization in Accounting and a minor in Innovation. A few activities I enjoy doing include writing short stories and blogs, photography, traveling, and gaming!”