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Fun Fact: How did spring break begin?

The university will be closed Monday, March 19, for faculty and staff spring break day. Students will enjoy a week without classes March 19-23.

How did spring break become a tradition?

A. Spring break began in prehistoric times, when surviving winter was cause for celebration.

B. The Greeks and Romans started it with festivals honoring the gods of wine.

C. The 1960 movie Where the Boys Are made spring break popular with students.

D. The State of Florida created spring break to increase tourism.

Hurley Administration Building and spring blossomsThe correct answer is … all of the above. Spring is a time of renewal, when Mother Earth’s plants and animals put aside hibernation, dormancy and electric blankets to greet the season of biological and spiritual resurrection. 

Events celebrating the return of sunshine, longer days, growing crops and birthing creatures date as far back as recorded history. The 20th century version of spring break can be traced to Florida, which offered facilities for college swim teams in the 1930s, and then began inviting students to party on the beach in the 1950s, especially after Connie Francis sang the movie theme Where the Boys Are. Affordable airline fares spread spring break to Mexico and the Caribbean.

Today, many students prefer community service to revelry and use the week to assist with disaster recovery and health and social services at locations around the country.

  • Learn about UNT’s Alternative Spring Break programs.
  • Enter to win a gift pack, including a T-shirt, eco-friendly shopping bag, water bottle and lapel pin emblazoned with UNT’s new theme “A green light to greatness.” Send an email to InHouse with “Spring Break” in the subject line by 5 p.m. March 16. Winners will be chosen at random from all responses.

Faculty and staff enjoy a spring break day approved by the UNT System Board of Regents after input from administration and employee groups.

Texas law establishes the overall number of state-funded holidays each year, and it allows higher education institutions to apply the allowed number of closure days to operating calendars.

State-assisted institutions of higher education can determine the start date and number of weeks (or contact hours) for each semester/term so long as they meet criteria determined by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. 

According to current policy, spring break occurs the third week in March (a partial week must have at least three working days to be counted.) Because March 1 was on Thursday, we began counting the three weeks on the following Monday, March 5.  That is why spring break begins on March 19.

Effective Spring 2013, spring break will be scheduled to follow the eighth week of instruction of the spring semester. 

  • Spring break 2013 will begin March 11. 
  • Spring break 2014 will begin March 10.

The dates will still continue to fluctuate within March because UNT will still be required to begin the semester as directed by the THECB common calendar.

Fiscal year 2011-12 includes 13 holidays. Those remaining are Memorial Day, May 28 and Independence Day, July 4. Employees also have a floating holiday which must be used by Aug. 31.

Employees who wish to do so may observe other optional state holidays by substituting vacation or compensatory leave, or by working on one or more designated holidays with advance supervisory approval. These include:

• Rosh Hashanah

• Yom Kippur

• Good Friday

(Photo by Jonathan Reynolds)

Posted on: Mon 12 March 2012

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