Spirit Week: Are students too apathetic or is it just outdated?

I could not believe my eyes when I arrived at the SLCC atrium on Tuesday night to check out the Spirit Week event. There was a decent-sized group of freshmen with pink hair (by the way, who else totally aww’ed at their mascot and motto: a Duck and “Don’t quack with us”?) and the impressive crowd of English Language Institute Student Organization students that basically outnumbered the rest of the classes put together. The attendance of the sophomores was less than mediocre, but… the juniors and seniors? Seriously. I have more fingers than there were juniors and seniors in that building that night!

What happened to the screaming mobs of various class colors that showed up to every Spirit Week event a few years ago?

Well, I don’t have an answer for you, but I will tell you what I saw that night. The juniors repeatedly sent Amy Bachtel as class representative for various acting stints. She went back and forth from her class to the stage so often that I almost mistook her for a soccer player instead of being the women’s basketball captain. Freshman Todd Bonheyo did a hilarious imitation of a deaf YouTube mini-star that the rest of his class missed out on. Little Rats, let me tell you that there is no better time to bond with your classmates, but by the time this column is published it’ll probably be too late for you to take my advice anyway.

Moving on. I was wondering why there was such a sudden decrease in the attendance; Monday night had drawn a much larger crowd to the MarketPlace where brave volunteers had to chow down bizarre food combinations such as Sour Patches bears and barbecue sauce and a disgusting green mixture of oatmeal, eggs, and icing. I admit it, the whole “Fear Factor” feel to the event was highly entertaining, but it wasn’t enough to retain the same amount of students the next night. What, you didn’t like seeing what color MMs and ketchup would become coming out of a person’s throat? I thought it was a nice shade of gray, personally.

So, that got me thinking… Why are students so willing to miss out on a week-long series of events that happens only once a year? Are we really getting more apathetic with every passing year? If you think about it, the class that takes first place will get awarded one thousand and five hundred dollars! Let’s do the math.

Suppose the class decided to use that money for their Senior Trip fund and say, 40 seniors end up going. They’d be saving themselves about $40 each. Or, even better, that money could go to a party cruise that the students don’t have to pay extra for. Or the class could donate something really wicked to Gallaudet and have a shiny sign that says the class year in a really obvious place, so that they will be remembered forever and ever. Basically, what I’m trying to say is that I don’t understand why so many students don’t seem to be excited by $1,500.

Some of my younger friends said that they missed the first night or two and lost motivation to show up for the rest of the week. Okay. You need to understand something here.

Spirit Week is not a television series with complicated plots and you need to watch from the beginning or you’ll just be lost if you try picking it up in the middle of the season. No! Spirit Week is a sitcom. You can tune in anytime, and it’ll still be funny.

So that’s not a valid excuse, sorry! Another reason students don’t go is because they “don’t feel like it.” Well, that one is harder to argue with, I’ll give you that. If you want to make Homecoming week just any other week in your life, then that’s your choice, but c’mon… Live it up a little, would ya?

Now, it wouldn’t be fair to make this entirely about student apathy. Apathy has always been and will always be a problem, period. One thing I have begun to contemplate lately is whether or not Spirit Week is simply outdated.

Is it time for Spirit Week to adjust to what the students want… or is it time for Spirit Week to go altogether? I don’t want to believe that the latter is true, so I’m going to focus on the changes the next Spirit Week chairperson(s) can make. I think it’s time to seriously reevaluate what makes Spirit Week what it is supposed to be: competitive, crazy, creative, and most importantly, fun as hell.

Is a whole week officially too long for our attention span now? Perhaps we could change Spirit Week to Spirit Day where all students get together for a full day of games and activities for the Sunday before Homecoming.

Or, maybe the activities could be advertised in advance and the classes could prepare better for Spirit Week, thus encouraging them to show up because their curiosity has been sparked? Maybe it is not the responsibility of the students to find the desire to show up, but actually in the hands of the chairperson(s) to reach out and appeal to all students. Whatever the reason for the student apathy this week or the solution to future Spirit Weeks, the attendance count sucked majorly.

Remember, college is what you make of it. Spirit Week could be the most memorable week of your college years or just an annual thing that demands your time and energy. The glass is either half empty or half full. You are either somebody who goes to school or a goddamn college student.

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11 Responses to “Spirit Week: Are students too apathetic or is it just outdated?”

  1. Lenore
    October 24, 2011 at 4:52 PM #

    I found it difficult to find any information. I don’t go to SAC/MP often, due to work (off-campus) and classes. If it was better advertised, I’d have gone. Maybe next year putting the schedule/places online would help out more students.

    • Leila
      October 27, 2011 at 12:21 PM #

      You are absolutely right. I should have mentioned that the Spirit Week public relations sucked. However, the classes that had the lowest attendance by far were the seniors and juniors. These are the students that have been around long enough to know what to expect at this time of the year. The class presidents should have informed the classes about Spirit Week (they were supposed to), so it was really up to the upperclassmen to decide to show up or not.

      Still, I won’t deny that if there were better public relations, it would have drawn more students. Oh well, always ways to improve for next year!

  2. John
    October 24, 2011 at 11:15 PM #

    I completely agree with your thoughts. I had to miss all of these nights, due to work. Somehow, I am concerned that no one has posted the huge banner of schedule at Marketplace. I remembered that somebody posted the banner at Marketplace a year ago (Epic Homecoming, something like that), it was HUGE successful because most of students were aware on what to wear and what to do for the rest of week. I actually had no clue about spirit week until one of my co workers gave me the Buff and Blue. I opened the Buff and Blue, I was like what the heck… “It is Monday already?! I will miss all of these nights… I wish I could switch the shifts or do something at advance!” I am still disappointed that I missed pep rally because no one has updated until the Homecoming week has arrived! I am hoping for better schedule/advertise for next year.

  3. Anneliese
    October 24, 2011 at 11:30 PM #

    No need to take God’s name in vain. Gallaudet needs more publicity relating to specific days for Spirit week- I didn’t even know Monday was Western Wear Day. Gallaudet’s Campus Activities SUCK. there ya go. not even all the Kappa Gammas or Owls can do a decent job. Lo-sers. SBG is just an administration favoritism ploy full of Greek assholes who only care about padding their resumes.

    • Leila
      October 27, 2011 at 12:22 PM #

      You are right about the lack of public relations, but I don’t understand what the Greek organizations have to do with anything in this article.

  4. liane
    October 25, 2011 at 10:08 AM #

    Spirit Week is easily my favorite event of the year at Gallaudet so clearly I live for this shit, however I was pretty disappointed this year (not by my class, ilu jokers <3). The last few spirit weeks, there were a lot of information emailed out before the actual week started and people could prepare for it.

    But this year? The first email we got was THREE hours before the kickoff on Sunday. The only posted information was a tiny ass sheet of paper in SAC in a spot that I never would have looked at if someone didn't tell me about it. I had friends who already made plans for Sunday night by the time the email went out because they didn't think anything would happen.

    I got a bit apathetic towards the end because it didn't really seem like the chairpersons cared a lot about it (they did do a good job at the events) so why should I care? Because really, every other spirit week it was super easy to get information but this year I had to ask other people what was happening/etc a lot and they didn't always know so I ended up having to just wing it a lot.

    And Tuesday was the worst day to dress up the entire week, every other day had better attendance because it was a lot easier to dress up. I like stuff like Wild West Day since that's fun but Dress like an Object without time to prep an outfit? Ehhhhh.

    tl;dr: if you want students to care about spirit week, the organizers have to look like they care about it too.

    p.s. ilu class of 2012, we're still the best!

    • liane
      October 25, 2011 at 10:14 AM #

      whoops forgot to mention something- the worst part of the week for me was that it wasn’t required to make a new banner/flag (they mentioned it on Sunday, but never brought it up again). The years before that, we had info about what we needed to do for our banner or flag before the week started so we could work on it before the week started.

      I really loved working on our banners and it was a major bummer that I didn’t get to make one for my senior year.

  5. le feu ;)
    October 25, 2011 at 7:48 PM #

    amennn :D

    everyone needs to remember that spirit week is only 7 days out of 365.. heck.. its more like 5 days.. so now for 4 years – that comes down to only 20 days out of 1,460 days..
    students should thinkk about how they want to make their college experience a memorable one.. :)

    p.s. if you dont recognize my name.. you know you are guilty ;)

  6. i agree
    October 26, 2011 at 7:51 PM #

    i agree.

    this year’s homecoming committee were pretty shitty when it came to the public relations. nobody really knew if we were going to have any spirit week this year until like 2 hours before it started.

    only if it were well advertised- it would be successful. it is entirely up to the committee, really.

  7. William
    October 27, 2011 at 12:02 PM #

    No, its simply marketing. Nobody made it seem something worth watching/participating.

    That alone is the killer of any event/service/product.

    People don’t know what they want until they see it.

  8. Z. Ennis
    October 30, 2011 at 9:44 PM #

    I enjoyed your article and the very last sentence threw me off. Your article discussed about improving the Spirit Week and it concluded with being somebody who goes to school and a goddamn college student without explaining what it means to be a goddamn college student. It still was a good read.

    Spirit Day seems appealing and it would be in accordance to a university striving to gain better academic excellence. Its a good start to a much needed dialogue regarding Spirit Week.

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