The karst landscape of the Clarksville area lends itself to numerous sinkholes. Austin Peay's main campus quad area is highlighted by several large sinkholes, nicknamed "the bowls." These bowls are popular hangouts for studying, lounging, frisbee games or student activities.
Every fall, students form either all-male, all-female or coed teams to compete in volleyball and/or tug-of-war in the mud. The MudBowl uses tarp surrounded by bales of straw, filled with tons of murky dirt and water. The annual event, started in 2003, is sponsored by the Student Government Association.
Every January, members of the Austin Peay State University community display their grit and determination by willingly jumping into icy water during the annual Polar Plunge. This event, which serves as a food drive for local food pantries, takes place each January at the Foy Fitness and Recreation Center’s outdoor swimming pool, and it has grown in popularly since the first plunge took place in 2009.
Plant the Campus Red has become a tradition with memorable beginnings. The initial Plant the Campus Red was held in the spring after the Jan. 22, 1999, tornado denuded much of campus. With a spirit of determination and in defiance of the F-4 tornado's destruction, more than 400 faculty, staff, students, alumni and community friends united to bring the campus back to life by planting hundreds of flowers, shrubs and saplings. The event is held each spring.
In honor of our namesake, former Tennessee governor Austin Peay, most all campus buildings have been named after former Tennessee governors as well.
Each year, the University recognizes the top two outstanding students at the Spring Academic Awards Day Ceremony.
The William McClure Drane Award is given to the degree candidate chosen by the faculty of the University on the basis of character, scholarship, leadership and service to the University. The award was established in 1950 by Myrtle Drane and Maud Drane Buckner in memory of their father, William McClure Drane, a prominent citizen of Clarksville and patron of education.
The Halbert Harvill Civitan Citizenship Award is given to the graduating student selected by the faculty for having made an outstanding contribution to good citizenship during his or her college career. The award is not based upon popularity, athletic prowess or scholastic achievement; rather, the award honors the student who has made the best use of his or her abilities and has worked unselfishly for the betterment of fellow students and the school community.