The sea of gold and navy melted away as face-painted students many shirtless exited the crammed football stadium, sweating profusely from the combination of a hot sun and tightly packed bodies. Fans had to cover their ears to soften the screaming coming from some of the more enthusiastic Yellowjackets, but even those with quickly developing headaches shared in the school spirit.
Doesn’t sound like UR? I disagree (besides the sun part).
Last week, as the UR men’s soccer team defeated St. Lawrence, 3-0, in front of the largest crowd Fauver Stadium has seen in eight years, it was almost possible to think this research institution was in an intense battle for first place in a Division I tournament. Such school spirit does much more than make sports games more enjoyable. It trickles down through the students and faculty so that it’s felt throughout the school both within and outside of class.
Although this seems like a stretch, there’s a large amount of research in psychology that suggests that people not only enjoy work more when they take pride in it, but that people work harder when in such an environment. And school pride most definitely contributes to happiness.
If it continues to be effective, ‘Fill Fauver,” a central initiative to Students’ Association President and senior Eric Sansky’s and SA Vice President and senior Tyler Socash’s platform in April, will directly contribute to the pleasure of being an athlete at UR by increasing turnout at home games. More importantly, this agenda, designed to increase turnout at one game for every varsity sports team, has the potential to increase student pride in the school’s athletics and in the school as a whole.
Such programs place a large burden on the students it’s up to them to actually show up at the events. That’s why much of the credit for the success last week goes to the freshman RAs, who pumped up their halls in preparation for the soccer game. Additional credit goes to the freshman class for bringing renewed spirit to the school.
But if ‘Fill Fauver” is to continue its success, other upperclass leaders must saddle some of the weight. Greek life, one of the most important institutions on campus, should especially make an effort to make ‘Fill Fauver” successful and prove their school spirit to the administration. Such an example would seriously increase turnout.
There is, however, room for improvement in the plan itself. Hand out goodies that make the event last past the game itself. Give out colorful player profiles. Auction off the players to the crowd and give the proceeds to charity. In other words, add something original that makes ‘Fill Fauver” more than students attending a game, but rather students participating in it.
Time will tell if the same number of students that showed up for the men’s soccer game will show up for traditionally less popular sports. It could even be that this past soccer game was a unique UR experience. Sansky and Socash should keep working hard to ensure the program’s success and use the goodwill generated from it to enact new programs that will give us more pride in our school.
Epstein is a member of the class of 2010.