Editorials

Editorial: A true opportunity for school spirit

By
Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The upcoming Fall Celebration tied to Brown’s 250th anniversary presents a distinct opportunity to craft a definite sense of school spirit on campus. As discussed in a previous editorial, we firmly believe that Brown lacks a distinguishable aura of pride and fails to actively and vocally support its historic, Ivy League athletic program. This tempered degree of spirit and tradition unfortunately holds true consequences in the future trajectory of the institution, as Brown relies heavily on its ever-growing alum base for monetary donations and gifts. We urge the Brown community at-large to actively participate in the myriad events offered over the course of the Fall Celebration and by doing so, help restore and bolster a once vibrant sense of Brunonian spirit.

Opportunities to come together as a campus are rare. Even less common are those that attract alums from around the country. This weekend is a chance for first-years making their first trek up to Brown Stadium to fill it alongside students of their grandparents’ generation, representing perhaps 70 of Brown’s 250 years. Demonstrating school spirit and supporting sports teams are not contingent upon success or elite status, and this weekend should not rest solely on Brown’s prestige. Rather, the sense of community should come more simply from the sharing of an experience afforded to few. While undergraduates have spent the first month conversing around dinner tables and occasionally packing the Main Green or lecture halls, this weekend is an occasion to come together in large numbers with one clear purpose: to celebrate Brown. Interactions between 18-year-olds and octogenarians will undoubtedly be limited, but seeing the faces of those who came before and those who follow suffices to remind us of both the history and the future of this campus that is so often lost as we scurry between classrooms to libraries.

School spirit is inextricably tied to tradition. Beyond the matchup against Harvard, the comprehensive agenda of the weekend includes a number of events and exhibits which aim to celebrate the institution’s deep-rooted history and embedded sense of tradition, specifically “25 Objects: The Stories of Our Past, Present and Future” and “In Deo Speramus: The Symbols and the Ceremonies of Brown University.” These particular events bring about the convergence of material history and the rather amorphous topic of school spirit and identity, with the underlying hope of crafting a more explicit and visible institutional character. However, Brown is as much a product of its traditions as it is of the individuals who perpetuate them. The Brown community must continue to remain aware of tradition and work to strengthen these often overlooked cornerstones.

The last weekend of September signals for many students the tail end of summer or the beginning of midterm exams. It is often the last chance to take full advantage of Brown’s resources beyond our courses. We would, as a community, do well to push off academic anxieties until Monday and come together to celebrate what we share on College Hill.