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.