A hand-y habit: a collection of ACC hand signals

There are many ways that colleges try to sell themselves to prospective students to keep the institution at the forefront of their minds. “You want the best facilities, student-friendly programs and sports? Then you have to come here!” preaches on many tours.

While these are all important factors that go into making a college decision, there is one marketing strategy that sticks with families, current students, and alumni: a unique handshake. Here are some of the handbags you’ll see on ACC college campuses.

Walk around the 305, and you’ll probably see many students touching the tips of their thumbs together with their other fingers to point to the sky to make a “U” shape. This award shows everyone who joins and loves the Miami Hurricanes, also known as “The U.” It was founded in 1992 by former athletic director Bill Tiango who wanted the Florida school to have something that set it apart from its competition in the the state, and has been seen on game days across the country ever since.

Beginning in the 1980s through the early 2000s, Miami became a national football powerhouse and had the power to prove it. Now, many students don’t call the “University of Miami” but just call the school “The U,” and their shiny hands can make that look at any time.

Virginia Tech “VT” or Turkey

In Blacksburg, Virginia, they have a simple but very confusing hand sign. To express your love for all things Hokies, you must make two silent signs, then place one on top of the other to spell out “VT” in your fingers. It is not clear how this sign started, but it seems that students who have graduated from the school in recent years tend to do it.

If the letters are too difficult, use the phrase “When in doubt, stick it out.” This signal is not as popular as “VT” but it is very simple. Make a thumbs up gesture with one hand, and put all five fingers up with the other hand. Place the bottom of the thumb on the palm of the other hand to make a small bow.


One thing that strikes fear into the hearts of football programs across the country is having 80,000 Florida State fans direct their “tomahawk chop” at you and your team. This award was made at a small gathering by the FSU marching band and cheerleaders during the 1980s. During the first half of the game, the members performed a very dangerous tomahawk chop, so the fans made an example of the move that was eventually picked up by fans on the stage.

Today, this armband is one of FSU’s most sacred traditions and has even been picked up by MLB and NFL teams along with the team. seniors have moved on to the big leagues.

College Sports Gameday GIF by College Colors Day - Find & Share on GIPHY

Since 1921, NC State’s athletic teams have been known as the Wolfpack, and the name has become a rallying cry for alumni and current students. To show this helpful spirit, many people of the Pack hold up their “wolf,” or a small wolf they make in their hands. This action, done by joining the middle and ring fingers and then touching the partner in the mouth, is used almost every day by students, athletes and other fans of the school. He was known by the coaches as well as the famous basketball coach Kay Yow who was often seen scaring his wolves on and off the court.

Wolfpack GIF by NC State Athletics - Find & Share on GIPHY

Although many of these awards were created by accident, they are proudly displayed from campus to campus as a way for students to be proud of their institutions. It’s likely that the hand signal system will make its way to more ACC schools, and in the near future more game day traditions will be created.

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