Opinion: Spirit Takes Many Forms on Campus
School spirit differs tremendously from high school to college, but the University at Albany seems to pride itself on school spirit. Our school even has a page dedicated to traditions here that attempt to rally school spirit from students and staff, and the Big Purple Growl is one of them.
Beginning in 1997, the Alumni Association organizes the Ferocious Feast in the Physical Education gym in early February of every year. According to the university’s website, the Big Purple Growl also features two back-to-back basketball games, courtesy of UAlbany’s men’s and women’s teams in the SEFCU Arena. The website states that the Big Purple Growl is a great way for current students and alumni to mingle and celebrate the school they share.
Another more well-known chance for students to show off their school spirit is the annual Clash of the Quads. According to the same webpage, the event originally began in 1913 and continued into the 1960’s, back when the university was known as the New York State College for Teachers. It started out as a competition between sophomores and freshmen that eventually grew to include upperclassmen. The description says, “The classes would also have their own class song, fight song and a large banner that featured their class year and mascot.”
Then, in 2003, the UAlbany Spirit Committee transformed the tradition to the Clash of the Quads that students know and continue to love today. The Clash is held every September and features several games, activities, and competitions in which each of the five quads and the University Apartments go head-to-head to determine the winning team. But the biggest display of school spirit has to be Homecoming.
According to the university’s page, the first Homecoming Weekend was held on October 31, 1953. The first homecoming at UAlbany didn’t feature a football game, as it appears, but a soccer game instead. Since then, Homecoming has evolved into the tradition students enjoy today: a football game, reuniting with family and friends, and the Touchdown Tailgate, among other things. Still, one student felt that the school seems to lack school spirit.
Avid football-game-goer and involved UAlbany student Michelle Labarbera says that Homecoming Weekend 2017 was packed with students. But when she went to a more “random” football game, she said it seemed like there weren’t very many people at all. When asked if she knew of anything students or staff could do to inspire school spirit, she was unsure. “The school is just so big, it’s hard to get everyone together,” Labarbera states, “my high school had so much more school spirit.”
School spirit at the collegiate level is tough, because of the size of most universities and the busy schedules of the students that attend them. Between classes, work schedules, and outside obligations, it can be tough to be a part of your school. But, school spirit doesn’t just mean attending sports games.
Students can show their spirit through participating in club organizations on campus, attending events like the Big Purple Growl, and even participating in smaller things around campus, like Spirit Friday. Every Friday, students, faculty, and staff are invited to wear UAlbany’s school colors, purple and gold, or any school apparel. Students may even be rewarded for wearing school colors on Friday, as members of the Spirit Street Team are always looking for spirited students to hand out various prizes.