CONA Traditions

By: Lily Jandrisevits and Delaney Donnohue, Reporters

Returning delegates are lucky to have experienced all the amazing traditions at The Mountain during the Conference on National Affairs, and first-year delegates have definitely listened in on some incredible tales from friends. Here’s a list of some of our favorites to look back on or learn about for the first time, because what even is Cheerwine anyway?

Eureka Treats

Similar to a Flurry, you can get Eureka treats at Eureka Hall, and share them with your friends on the porch. There are tons of toppings to choose from! Beware of extremely long lines, but they’re just THAT good. 

Good ole’ Cheerwine

Cheerwine is a soda, similar to a cherry Dr. Pepper, that’s traditional to have on The Mountain and popular in the state of North Carolina itself. It’s not just for a congregation of government kids! Who knew? Also, the obsession definitely starts after your first year. 

Daily Porch chats

At Eureka Hall, there are several green rocking chairs that are sprawled out where delegates can sit to talk and make new friends. They’re quite comfortable.

Sunrise Hang Outs

Some delegates will wake up early and sit on the Eureka Hall porch to watch the sunrise together. You can invite someone from another state or from your own delegation to go with you and bask in the colors over the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains.

Pin/Shirt Trading

Every delegation designs their own shirts and pins, and everyone trades them between states on The Mountain! State shirts are worn on the first day of debate and then can be traded. As of last year, the results of a giant media poll showed that the Oklahoma delegation won ‘Best Shirt!’

State Chants

Inevitably during mealtimes, state chants start up, and different states try to overpower each other’s chants. It’s awesome when everyone participates, but it also amplifies the screaming that echoes across the dining hall.

State Mascots

Several of the states that attend CONA bring along a mascot, like a certain stuffed animal, that is carried around camp throughout the week and is sometimes stolen by other delegations. This becomes some of the ultimate gossip in the giant CONA chat.

Warm and Fuzzies 

Some delegations write notes to say how much you appreciate others, and how well they did at CONA. Each delegate writes a short letter to every member of their delegation!

The songs “Country Roads” and “Sweet Caroline”

These are very important and popular songs amongst CONA delegates. It is played multiple times throughout the day, every day. You will memorize all of the lyrics by the end of the week, that’s a guarantee. But hey, it brings everyone together.

Seersucker Tuesday

A popular dress up day at CONA, delegates get decked out from head to toe in seersucker outfits. The material is a thin, all-cotton fabric that is usually worn for professional or casual business looks in the summer. This day shows off some of the most epic CONA fits from delegates.

Bob McGaughy

Former Conference Director Bob and his nightly devotionals that are full of passion and motivation. He is always walking around and checking in on everyone.


Ah, Ingles. This grocery store that is located outside of the YMCA Blue Ridge Mountain Assembly is a treasure spot for states to stop and buy any last minute essentials for the rest of the week as well as snacks that they and their roommates can enjoy! It’s a great time running into old friends in random food aisles.