Want more school spirit? Expand your community

When I was growing up, my mom used to take me to my brothers’ basketball games to support them. At first, I grumbled, but over time, I began to enjoy the experience. My brothers were glad that I was there to cheer them on, and I learned more about the sport as I spent more time around it. While I wouldn’t consider myself a basketball expert, basketball is now one of my favorite sports, and I’m thankful that my mom dragged me along.

When I first arrived at Samford, I noticed that while people are genuinely kind, we don’t seem to want to leave the bubble of our own communities. As an independent female and a journalism major, I find myself with few male friends (thanks, Samford ratio), few Greek friends and even fewer friends in athletics or the arts. I love Samford, but this isn’t exactly my idea of a well-rounded college experience.

This disconnect shows up the most in sports. Except for Family Weekend and Homecoming, our school spirit seems to be lacking, and Samford students don’t seem to want to attend college football, basketball, or soccer games.

And school spirit isn’t just a problem at Samford. According to statistics from the NCAA, attendance at Division I college football games has declined by 742,000 from 2013-2016.

Is that because students are disinterested? Preoccupied with academics? Or could it be for a different reason – a lack of interaction between different communities? While I’ve often heard the buzzword “community” at Samford, it seems as though our communities don’t mix. How often do independents & Greeks, athletes and non-athletes, journalism majors and physics majors hang out together? Even if home groups and Step Sing provide a way for these communities to mingle, not every Samford student is involved in a home group, and let’s be honest, it’s not possible to maintain connections with everyone you meet during Step Sing.

Emily Pitts, a senior theatre for youth major, says, “One way I think we could get better involved in sports is by showing community participation.  If more (athletes) went to a play, I would be more willing to go to a sports game . . . Instead of saying, ‘I’m just a Greek Life person, or I’m just a sports person, (we should) encourage different groups to come and mingle with one another.”

What if independents supported Greek Life by attending more charity functions? Or Greek students included independents in activities? What if athletes went to plays and non-athletes went to football and soccer games? What would our school spirit be like then?

The answer to improving our school spirit is friendship and expanding our communities. When your friends come from different areas of campus, your life is richer and more full.

My hope is that we build friendships from every area of campus. Go to football games to support your athlete friends. Go to plays to cheer on the hard work of your theatre friends. Go to semi with one of your Greek friends and invite your independent friend to come hang out with you. By building friendships from across campus and supporting the diverse interests and communities at Samford, we can improve our school spirit and keep cheering on our beloved Bulldogs, wherever they may be.

Caroline Wolfe, Opinions Editor

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