Then and now: Many changes for student life since 1970s


    By Brittany Wiscombe

    Farrah Fawcett hairstyles, $720 a year for BYU tuition and girls not allowed to wear jeans on campus – it must be 1976.

    BYU has changed a great deal over the years in style, honor code and activities.

    As graduation approaches, some students wonder what their children will have to say about mom and dad”s experience at the Y.

    Patty Eastin, a freshman in 1970, said things were quite different thirty years ago.

    She lived in the Mary Fielding Smith Hall in Heritage Halls.

    “The curfew was 10 p.m., and if you missed it, you had to clean the whole building on Saturday,” Eastin said. “I”m afraid to say that I missed it quite a lot.”

    Eastin said certain aspects about campus were consistent.

    “We never walked on the grass on campus,” Eastin said. “And when the National Anthem played in the morning, no one moved, even if you were late to class.”

    Students heard great speakers at Devotionals just as students today do, but in the 1970s, Devotionals were considered a date.

    “Everyone went to the Devotional regardless, but it was best if a guy asked you to attend with him as his date,” Eastin said. “I remember the Prophet spoke at the field house and his wife, Sister Smith, told us that she had pierced ears. I think half the campus went out and pierced their ears after that.”

    In 1976, students had to go to every class and get the teacher”s signature in order to register. In some cases, students stood in long lines only to find the class was full.

    The Cougareat was the place to meet people on campus.

    “Back then you could go through a cafeteria style line and get a real meal, something with meat and potatoes,” Eastin said. “Everyone hung out at the Cougareat. If you were lucky, you would see the Osmonds. They were a big thing back then.”

    Eastin said the Cougarettes and football and basketball players shared memories here.

    “This was where all the girls and guys who dreamed of dating one of them would sit on the sideline and watch,” Eastin said.

    In the 1970s, many more activities for dating were available on campus.

    The Varsity Theater showed current movies, and for students who didn”t have enough change, the Joseph Smith Building showed old movies for 50 cents.

    Homecoming and Preference were the two big dances everyone hoped to attend in 1976.

    Eastin said it was popular to climb the Y and put down a fresh coat of paint in spring.

    “You did not hold hands or kiss on the first date, and never in public,” Eastin said. “The girls would look at the boys” legs to see if they could see the garmet line. We were always looking for those return missionaries.”

    Eastin met her husband, Robert, at BYU.

    “It was very common to see ”will you marry me” written in the snow on campus,” Eastin said. “When a girl got engaged, we always would have a candle passing in the Halls. A bunch of giddy girls sat in the dark and passed a candle around. Whoever blew it out was the lucky girl.”

    According to the Honor Code in 1976, young men were not encouraged to have beards and mustaches, but it was acceptable if they were trimmed.

    “Bob had a very thin one that I filled in with mascara,” Eastin said. “Really I did.”

    The 1970”s left legacies and memories for many BYU graduates.

    Some students today said social activities on campus are not as common because of the stress of an excelled academic atmosphere.

    “So much emphasis has been placed on grades, that the atmosphere has changed quite a bit,” said Mary Dyer, a junior from New Canaan, Conn., majoring in history. “There is so much competition. I think students get so intense and a little impersonal.”

    Dyer said campus offers some activities, but the majority of social opportunities are found in wards.

    Other students said they enjoy the variety of people found on campus.

    Jacob Ekins, a member of the microbiology research faculty, from Fresno, Calif., said he notices peculiar trends on campus.

    Ekins said he watches for the students who ride the unicycles and pogo sticks to school.

    “But my favorite is the tandem bike guy,” Ekins said. “The back seat of his bike is empty and it is so sad. My wife and I are waiting for the day to see that seat filled.”

    Although Jimmy Carter is no longer the president of the United States, Olivia Newton John is not one of the popular singers and BYU does not offer the campus drink Iron Port that was the Mormon version of Dr. Pepper – BYU will always be unique.

    “Some things never change,” Ekins said. “We come to BYU and at first, we are just a little bit weird.”

    From huge collared shirts and gunnysack dresses to socks with sandals or a sweatshirt and jeans, styles and campus traditions differ over the years.

    But all students agree the spirit on campus cannot be diminished. Students said it is constant and growing.

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