In 1990, a group of about 100 students decided to jump into Mirror Lake as a way to ensure an Ohio State victory over “that team up north.” Twenty-five years later, thousands of students are still taking the plunge.
The Michigan Week Mirror Lake Jump has evolved into one of OSU’s most controversial — and coldest — traditions. According to the university’s guidelines and safety tips, participating in the Mirror Lake Jump is not advisable.
Liam Garven, a first-year in public health, said he will not be participating in the jump.
“The sentiment behind the jump 25 years ago, to honor Woody Hayes, was nice,” Garven said. “But now I think the meaning behind the tradition has been lost, and that it’s just an event for idiots.”
Although the jump is not a university-sanctioned event, arrangements have been made to keep students as safe as possible should they choose to participate.
This is the third year that no student will be permitted to jump or spectate from within the fencing without a wristband. Wristbands have been available all week and will be in the Ohio Union and RPAC on Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Students must present their current BuckID to receive a wristband, and only one wristband will be given to each student.
Brooke Siesel, a fourth-year in human development and family sciences, will be making the jump this year, despite university suggestion not to participate.
“I have done the jump for three years now, making tomorrow’s my fourth,” she said. “I jump because it’s an experience I feel like you can only experience while at Ohio State … I have always read about the cautions that are sent out regarding the jump, and understand the jump could be dangerous, but I think if you’re smart and responsible, it reduces the risk.”
According to the university’s guidelines and safety tips, on-site safety personnel reserve the right to remove anyone from Mirror Lake, especially if those individuals are suspected of being under the influence of alcohol or drugs or pose a threat to student safety.
Due to the cold temperature of the water, students are advised to bring a change of dry clothes to Mirror Lake and are also encouraged to wear shoes when they jump to prevent cuts and scrapes on their feet from the gravel bottom of the lake.
Because the water is filled with bacteria, students should not wear eye contacts when jumping and are also encouraged to shower or rinse off as soon as possible after the jump.
Diving, flipping or pushing into the water will not be tolerated. Students are encouraged to use the buddy system when going to and leaving Mirror Lake.
After participating in the Mirror Lake Jump, if students feel ill or hypothermic, they are encouraged to seek medical attention.