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A shoelace from Duke East. The color indicates the wearer as a 2nd year or 3rd year.

The shoelace (commonly called a lanyard) is the most important fashion statement that can be made by a TIPster. It's how anyone on staff (or anyone who knows about TIP) can identify a TIPster without much trouble. The shoelace is used to separate TIPsters from participants in other programs, and also to hold your ID and key conviently on your person at all times. At Davidson, the staff may warn you about a tree that has supposedly been the final resting place of many twirled shoelaces. LISTEN TO THEM.

Most campuses have three colors of shoelaces, debateably. It's often a neon yellow/green for 1st-3rd years, usually orange for 4th years with 4th-year privileges, while staff usually carry a yellow/green and orange lanyard.Staff themselves wear a neon blue lanyard. Davidson, Wake Forest, and Trinity just has the one color, since they don't have 4th years. (See TiP Age)

Recently, there was a debate over whether or not there was actually a difference between second year and third year lanyards. However, the debate has been resolved, due to this evidence:

  • On arrival day, when they give you your lanyard, there are only two piles. There are the yellow/green ones, and the orange ones.
  • TiPsters who keep their lanyards from previous years long enough to get a matching one will notice that the only color difference is a slight fade on the older one.
  • No one can think of a good motive for having differently-colored lanyards for different years if one cannot tell them apart at a glance.

On East Term II 2007, a distinct difference from normal traditions was made when the second and third years were given neon green shoelaces and the fourth years were given neon yellow shoelaces. This made it nearly impossible to distinguish fourth years from a distance and was met with great protesting.

The shoelaces have been used to identify us out in the real world as well. At Term II 2005, at the Durham Bulls Baseball Game, a large group of bored people were sitting around singing loudly (and probably very badly) with a collecting tin when RC Andrew came over and told us to shut up, claiming that people were complaining to the staff. When asked how they knew who to complain to, RC Andrew got very irritated and said, "How many people do you see with the neon shoelaces?" He then gave us some loose change and told us to be quiet. Thus, the shoelace has immense identifying value.

I keep my shoelace tied to my backpack during the school year, and because of it, a TIPster in my Spanish class approached me and asked if I was a TIPster too. Without it, we probably never would have spoken to each other, but because she saw my neon shoelace, we're now close friends and we can talk about TIP together, even though we go to different campuses.

Many people attach great emotional value to the shoelace and wear it outside of TiP. Wearing the lanyard shows TIP spirit and a longing to be reunited with TIP, as well as reminding the wearer of how they have been changed by TIP. This is an individual choice, however, and hardly ever mentioned at TiP.

The only times I've ever taken off my shoelaces is when I'm showering or sleeping.

"Shoelaces may fade but they never go away." "Where there is a lanyard there is a home."