Spirit shines in unforeseen ways
At the University of San Diego some students may think they have it all. Between the impressive academics, beautiful campus, and sunny weather, there might still be something missing — school spirit. Traditionally a large part of school spirit comes from supporting athletic teams, something in which USD is heavily lagging.
Junior Celesta Loo initially hoped that USD would provide the same level of school spirit as the other universities that her friends attend.
“I have been to a couple football games and the amount of students who have showed up was pretty depressing,” Loo said. “I think there were more parents and alumni at the football game than current USD students.”
Despite USD’s efforts, the university has trouble encouraging students to attend sporting events. The school hosts tailgates before the football team’s home games, but the lack of awareness leads to a mediocre student turnout.
Senior Amanda Zimmerman noted the absence of advertisements for such events on campus.
“The week before a game they should have posters or hand out flyers informing students of these types of events,” Zimmerman said. “It might be a different story if students were more aware of the opportunities the university hosts for us.”
However, Loo noted school spirit does not necessarily have to be defined by the amount of students that attend sporting events.
“I think we do have a lot of spirit in the sense that during Alcala Bazaar there are many students signing up for clubs and very eager to get involved,” Loo said. “I was able to get involved in other clubs on campus which made me feel proud to be a Torero, even though I wasn’t decked out in blue at every sporting event.”
A transfer from University of Alabama, Zimmerman took a different outlook on what school spirit should look like.
“When I attended Alabama, students were always decked out in crimson red repping our school,” Zimmerman said. “The energy was so high at football games, too. The stands would be packed and it felt like every single student was in attendance.”
Zimmerman’s transition from a high-energy school to USD was a little underwhelming.
“Honestly, I don’t believe that there can be a comparison between USD and Alabama,” Zimmerman said. “Alabama is a Division I program with a large student body, which I think increases the attendance of their games. Therefore, students are more involved in school spirit.”
It may be unthinkable to imagine a time when stadiums were packed with students on a game day. However, that hasn’t stopped some from thinking of ways to make that a reality.
Loo suggested several ways USD can increase attendance.
“I think having competitions between grades would have a lot more school spirit,” Loo said. “When people go to sporting events, they can check in with their MySanDiego app and whichever grade level has the most attendance could get free t-shirts or something. Another thing USD could do is just encourage more cheering and see which side of the bleachers could cheer louder. As the crowd starts to get more pumped up, the athletes on the field get more pumped as well.”
Senior Rojin Vafaeian was initially upset by the lack of school spirit, but has been able to find other things to fill that void.
“I got over the lack of school spirit very quickly and now I rarely ever think about it nor does it bother me,” Vafaeian said. “I think that’s due to the fact that there really is a lot more here that other schools lack.”
Vafaeian instead chose to get involved with other activities that promote school unity. She became a member of a sorority and the President of Lambda Pi Eta, the Communication Studies honor society.
“It’s not really the same as the whole student population rallying behind a sports team, but that’s how it is here,” Vafaeian said. “I am able to find a sense of school unity by being involved in campus-wide organizations with other students and that’s what we choose to rally behind.”
Although USD would not win the award for the most spirited school, students seem to be okay with that. There are other outlets, such as joining an organization, that can fill that void. For now, current students will have to accept their unspirited school as it is. However, it is in the students’ hands to bring about the change that they are seeking.