Friday, September 20, 2013

Newsletter Editorial: Successful tailgate a step in the right direction for Hopkins school spirit

This past Saturday, the Hopkins’ branch of Beta Theta Pi fraternity teamed up with the SGA to sponsor the Blue Jay Tailgate – an opportunity for Hopkins students to socialize over free food before attending the football team’s first home game of the season. In addition to welcoming new freshman and fostering community in the student body, a principle aim of the tailgate was to bolster Hopkins’ infamously lackluster school spirit.

By all accounts, it was a smashing success. Attendance was so high that the barbecue ran out of meat, and most who attended the cookout stayed after to watch the game, such that the crowd was louder than any other in recent memory. Spurred on by the show of support, Hopkins beat Susquehanna 24-7, and the home-town crowd left happy and full.

The Editorial Board applauds the event coordinators for taking the initiative to put this tailgate together, as well as the students whose attendance and enthusiastic participation made it such a success. Furthermore, we hope the positive momentum created by this event serves as a building block from which Hopkins pride can continue to grow. Prior experience warns, however, that this will not happen without a serious and concerted effort to organize, fund, advertise and promote similar events in the future.

Hopkins’ well recorded lack of school spirit is as difficult to solve as it is troubling. While Hopkins students seem proud of the academic quality of their education, too many appear disinterested when it comes to school athletics. Incoming freshman expecting a rowdy college game day atmosphere are likely put off and disappointed by the lack of care they see from upperclassmen, but may lack the social confidence to break from the established culture of indifference. The result is a widespread sense that Hopkins students are missing out on a unique and enjoyable component of the college experience.

This is a shame, because more school spirit would make Hopkins a happier place to live. Student athletes would feel more appreciated with a raucous crowd cheering them on, and they might even perform better with the knowledge that their friends and peers had their back from the bleachers. In turn, making these games into a big deal would provide students an excuse to take a study break and enjoy a shared experience with the rest of the student body. The resulting environment would improve morale and make Hopkins into a more vibrant, fun, and tight-knit community.

Fostering this environment will take work and time, and ultimately Hopkins students will have to meet the event planners halfway. Nevertheless, we implore the SGA to take a lead in making it happen. The recent tailgate is a great start because it gave students a taste – literally and figuratively – of what such a community could be like. Whether we get to enjoy it in the future is up to us.

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