Tag Archives: Lou’s Challenge

Lou’s Challenge

Lou’s Challenge

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When attempting to complete the Lou’s Challenge, a participant must stay up all night, either from partying or studying, and stay awake long enough to make it to Lou’s Restaurant at its 6 a.m. opening time for a delicious breakfast.

Folklore Type: Customary


Lou’s Challenge Stories

May 31, 2016

Anonymous Female 16’
Age: 22
Birthplace:  San Diego, CA
Current Residence: Hanover, NH
Place Collected: Dartmouth College
Date Collected: April 22, 2016
Genre: Verbal-Story
Language: English
Country of Origin: USA

Social/Cultural Context: Entertainment

Informant’s Comments: 

“Me and three of my friends were in the library midterms week. We were forced to pull an all nighter to get our work done on time. We decided to reward themselves with the Lou’s challenge in the morning for all of our hard work.”


Anonymous Male 19’

Age: 19
Birthplace:  Flemington, New Jersey
Current Residence: Hanover, NH
Place Collected: Dartmouth College
Date Collected: April 22, 2016
Genre: Verbal-Story
Language: English

Country of Origin: USA

Social / Cultural Context: Entertainment

Informant’s Comments:

“I did the Lou’s’ Challenge during orientation week with people I had just met that night. I wanted to start my experience at Dartmouth off on the right foot. Some of the people I did the challenge with became my best friends here at Dartmouth.”


Anonymous Male 16’
Age: 22

Birthplace:  Chicago, IL

Current Residence: Hanover, NH
Place Collected: Dartmouth College
Date Collected: April 22, 2016
Genre: Verbal-Story
Language: English
Country of Origin: USA

Social / Cultural Context: Entertainment

Informant’s Comments:

“I am a brother in a house on campus that would like to remain anonymous. Me and my fellow brothers started at 9pm and stayed up all night playing pong, did the Lou’s challenge, and then went back to playing pong before we all fell asleep. “


Anonymous Female 19’

Age: 18
Birthplace: Doylestown, PA
Current Residence: Hanover, NH
Place Collected: Dartmouth College
Date Collected: April 20, 2016
Genre: Verbal-Story
Language:English
Country of Origin:USA
Social / Cultural Context: Entertainment

Informant’s Comments: 

“My teammates and I had just gotten back from a three day Ivy Championships at midnight. We stayed up the entire night celebrating our victories and ended the celebrating at Lou’s at 6am. I was so delirious and tired that I accidently gave a $40 tip instead of an $8 tip.” 


Anonymous Male 17’

Age:21
Birthplace: San Diego, CA
Current Residence: Hanover,NH
Date Collected: May 3, 2016
Genre: Verbal-Story
Language: English
Country of Origin:USA
Social / Cultural Context: Entertainment

Informant’s Comments:

“When I was a freshman, I knew of a senior who completed Lou’s Challenge three days in a row during Green Key. The senior claims he didn’t sleep all weekend, and slept for the following next three days.”


Anonymous Male 19′

Age:20
Birthplace: Washington, DC
Current Residence: Hanover, NH
Date Collected: April 23rd, 2016
Genre: Verbal-Story
Language: English
Country of Origin: USA
Social / Cultural Context: Entertainment

Informant’s Comments:

“I had three papers due on a Monday during the Winter Term. Going into the weekend I had one of my three papers done. I ended up not sleeping at all Saturday night, so I decided to do Lou’s Challenge that following morning. Fortunately for me, I was able to complete Lou’s Challenge and his papers. The sad part is that I did the challenge alone.”


Collector’s Comments: 

As present within all these stories, the members who attempted and completed the Lou’s Challenge mentioned above, each did it with the purpose to claim they completed Lou’s Challenge at least one, probably of the many nights, Dartmouth students pulled an “all-nighter”. The motivation and purpose for each individual’s decision to complete Lou’s Challenge was so they could carry on Dartmouth tradition and culture that has been around for decades at Dartmouth. By completing Lou’s Challenge, each person feels a closer sense of community that is immersed throughout this campus. The Lou’s Challenge allows a unique perspective for Dartmouth students to create bonds with other Dartmouth students that ties them into the folk group of Lou’s Challenge students because they share a common experience of pulling an “all-nighter” and by finishing off their night with a Lou’s breakfast.

Dartmouth Folklore & Collection Process

Proof of Dartmouth Folklore

The Dartmouth Seven, the Ledyard Bridge Challenge, and the Lou’s Challenge are all well-known challenges among the Dartmouth “folk” (i.e. students, professors). These three challenges are the most well-known among Dartmouth Students. The origin of each is unknown, but there are rumors about where each one comes from. Most Dartmouth students hear about these challenges from either an upperclassman or a fellow classmate. Because these challenges are passed on from incoming freshman class to incoming freshman class, it is proof of its folklore; the Dartmouth Seven, the Ledyard Bridge Challenge, and Lou’s Challenge survive because they are passed down annually to new Dartmouth students.

How We Collected Our Folklore

The stories were collected from a range of Dartmouth students and Dartmouth Alumni, both male and female. Through one-on-one interviews, we were able to collect Dartmouth Challenge stories. In addition, surveys were conducted in order to get the broadest range of contributions possible.

All of the stories we collected were from people who wished to remain anonymous. In order to respect their wishes for privacy, we removed their names from our database and changed the names of people within the various folklore examples.

We decided to choose the most PG-13 related Dartmouth Challenges stories due to the graphic content some stories contain. Because we wished the stories to stay a true as possible from our informants, if a story was too graphic we left it out. We choose the best six stories for each Dartmouth Challenge to include in our collection project.

Finally, participants were asked why they partake in these challenges and what the challenges mean to them. Due to the similarity of many of the responses, we combined them all into one collective response at the bottom of each challenge page under our collector’s comment section.