Celebrate the Laker Life 
At Mercyhurst University, traditions aren’t simply dusty old relics from our past—they are living, breathing celebrations that represent our vibrant campus community. As time goes on, we constantly evolve what it means to be a Laker and how to celebrate our legacy, embrace the present, and look forward to a brighter future. From serious observances to spontaneous celebrations, you’ll find that Mercyhurst values our long history, and creates opportunities for all of our campus community to come together to have fun and grow in community. We are revitalized with every new class of students who suggest new ideas, bring new perspectives, and share in traditions that make up life at the Hurst. These touchstones of common experience endure, bringing us together and reminding us of what it means to be a Laker.

New Student Welcome

Mercyhurst New Student Welcome (NSW) marks the official start of a new Laker's experience! This extended welcome programming is a transition period designed to help students settle into life at MU, build connections with their fellow incoming students, and develop a sense of belonging on campus before the start of classes. During New Student Welcome, new Lakers will get acquainted with their Introduction to Mercyhurst—iMU (a starter class for students who are new to Mercyhurst) classmates. The week also includes fun activities like Casino Night, Hypnotic Intoxication, and glow-in-the-dark mini golf! 

Hurst Day

Waking up bright and early to the sound of bagpipes on an autumn day can only means one thing: Hurst Day has arrived! Hurst Day shows up unexpectedly every fall semester, surprising everyone with a day of canceled classes, contagious fun, and electric Laker pride. Mercyhurst's campus is transformed into a carnival-like atmosphere with games, inflatable slides, jumps, obstacle courses, a dunk tank, rock walls, bungee runs, as well as music, food, and prizes. The festivities begin with a team scavenger hunt with themed costumes, and concludes with a well-deserved steak dinner!

Homecoming and Family Weekend

Homecoming Weekend is a great opportunity for alumni and current students to come together to celebrate being Lakers, in addition to parents/guardians joining us on campus for Family Weekend festivities! Special Homecoming events include athletic competitions, social events, a Homecoming bonfire, games and contests, and tailgates. 


Midway through the Spring Semester, everybody could use a break from the rigors of academic study, making it the perfect time to cut loose and have a little fun. We’ve got you covered, thanks to SpringFest, a campus-wide dance party with thousands of your closest friends and a headlining music act. Artists including Bryce Vine, T-Pain, Timeflies, MKTO, Sean Kingston, and Jesse McCartney have performed on the SpringFest stage. Maybe your favorite artist will be here next year! 

Haunted Hurst

Spooky things happen around Halloween here at the Hurst. The Multicultural and Student Activities Council (MAC/SAC) partners with the Ambassadors to lead "haunted" tours throughout the campus. With nearly 100 years of Hurst history, our campus has plenty of haunted legends to share. This fun and creepy event is a student favorite! 

Unity Week

Multicultural Student Services partners with MAC/SAC and other campus constituents for a Unity Week each academic year. This weeklong series of events aims to celebrate the uniqueness of each individual in our community. 

Day of Service

Service and community are at the heart of our Mercy tradition. At the end of New Student Welcome, new Lakers spend a day out in the community engaged in hands-on service with their peers. Students experience a variety of service opportunities in Erie including cleaning up litter on Presque Isle beaches, stocking shelves in food pantries, and visiting local nursing homes. 

Carpe Diem Retreats

Often termed “the weekend you didn’t know you needed,” the Carpe Diem (CD) retreats allow students to get off campus, build connections, and develop their relationship with their faith. This weekend experience is the perfect way for students to make new friends and step outside their comfort zone! CD retreats are open to students of all backgrounds and religious affiliations. 

Laker Showdown

Athletes battle it out on stage at the annual Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) Laker Showdown held each spring. The Laker Showdown encourages our athletes to perform for the community, with bragging rights on the line. All funds from this exciting talent show competition benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Sister Damien Spirit Bell

Located in Trinity Green, the Sister Damien Spirit Bell commemorates Sister Damien, a Sister of Mercy and devoted fan of Laker athletics known for boisterously ringing a cowbell at every game. Now, after every athletic win, the team gathers in Trinity Green to ring the bell and sound out their victory.

Christmas Tree Lighting

There's nothing like a Mercyhurst Christmas. Campus is always beautifully decorated with festive trees and shimmering lights from Old Main to the gates to our residence halls. The whole campus community comes together to celebrate the lighting of a decorated tree in Trinity Green each December, complete with cookies, coffee, and hot cocoa! 

Mass of the Holy Spirit

Every September, we mark the spiritual start of the academic year with a special Mass in Christ the King Chapel, followed by a campus-wide picnic. The Mass of the Holy Spirit is one of Mercyhurst’s oldest campus traditions. 

Alma Mater

Lyrics to the university's alma mater:

We hail our college Alma Mater
the 'Hurst that's built upon the hill.
With love for all she has taught us
traditions that we carry still.

Old Main stands for the courage,
the opportunity to seize each
moment of the future
awaiting you and me.

The gates stand always open
the trees all green upon the grounds.
And when we look to Mercyhurst
there's no better to be found.

J. Chiarelli/G. Myers
arr: L.S. Wiliams
transcribed for band by R. Lucase, B. Mus. Ed., 2015