Student Life | Spirit & Traditions | University of Arizona

Spirit & Traditions

Bear Down Motto • ZonaZoo • Wildcat Mascots

This is Who We Are

Attending the University of Arizona is a college experience unlike any other. Feel the excitement while watching a game from ZonaZoo, believe in the rallying cry of “Bear Down!” – embrace all of the timeless traditions that come with being a Wildcat.

Students showing wildcat pride

John Byrd and bear down stadium

Why Do Wildcats Say
“Bear Down?”

In 1926, John Byrd “Button” Salmon, our student body president and quarterback, was critically injured in a car crash. His last words to his coach were, “Tell them … tell the team to bear down.” Today, this simple two-word phrase is a rallying cry that embodies the spirit of our university.

Students in front of Old Main

Old Main’s Significance

The first building ever built on campus, Old Main once served as everything from classrooms to dorms, offices, and a library when the University of Arizona first began. At the time, the university consisted of just six faculty teaching 32 students. Today, Old Main is the heart of the University of Arizona, and it’s where you’ll find President Robbins’ office, a museum, and a wraparound porch with rocking chairs for taking in the surroundings.

Historic image of Old Main


Old Main Completed

8 Fun Facts About Campus

Student union building


There is one gold brick on campus. It’s part of the Student Union building, on the west side of the BookStore.

Pavillion constructed by College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture students.


The Sonoran Pentapus pavilion outside of the College of Architecture, Planning and Landscape Architecture building was completely student-created.

Top view of old main


There’s an underground time capsule near Old Main. It’s scheduled to be opened by ASUA members in 2085.

Henry Koffler building.


The two triangle-shaped peaks on the facade of the Henry Koffler building make the building resemble a Wildcat.

History of scientific discover arch.


Each of the 25 figurines atop the Arch of Discovery, in front of Koffler, has made a significant scientific breakthrough – and, they’re all wearing distinct socks.

Navajo-Pinal Dorm near Arizona Stadium


Saturdays during football season are a little more rowdy at Navajo- Pinal, a dorm that’s built into Arizona Stadium.

Turtles in a pond


On the edge of campus, “The Turtle Pond” – proper name: The President’s Pond – is a charming respite, located where a former university president’s home once stood.

Han Solo cement miniature


If you roam around near the Photography building, you’ll find some secret Star Wars art: a miniature Han Solo frozen in carbonite.

Your Guide to ZonaZoo

ZonaZoo is the largest student section in the Pac-12 – and why shouldn’t it be? Football games bring out thousands of Wildcats for everything from tailgating on the mall to exciting halftime shows by the Pride of Arizona to touchdowns. At basketball games, Wildcats follow the Pep Band’s dance moves, and have created some timeless cheers – and, jeers for opposing teams.



ZonaZoo Members

Collage of Wilbur and Wilma


NCAA Division 1 Sports Teams

Introducing: Wilbur and Wilma

In 1915, a live bobcat named Rufus Arizona served as the university’s first official mascot. While Rufus and his successors were flashy, Wilbur was an instant hit when he was introduced in 1959. Things got even better in 1986, when Wilbur met Wilma on a blind date and they were married on November 21. The identities of the students portraying Wilbur and Wilma are revealed at the final regular-season home basketball game of the year.

Best Annual Events

Signature things to do at the University of Arizona.

Students in a bus


Band Day Tuba Players

Band Day


Family Weekend

Family Weekend

Tucson Festival of Books

Tucson Festival of Books


UArizona Commencement




Student Stories



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