For those of you that were looking forward to bragging about your men’s basketball team being on a 12-game losing streak, you’re out of luck. Saturday afternoon, the team won its first game since Dec. 23. This victory also happened to coincide with an enthusiastic student turnout, even given the team’s lackluster record.
The secret? GW Spirit Office and Colonial Challenge worked with the Inter-Fraternity Council and Greek Life to drum up attendance from Greek organizations for the “Buff-Out Game,” where students were told to wear buff-colored shirts to show their support. This strategy works really well in the Greek community since chapters tend to be cohesive and experienced at mobilizing member attendance.
At GW, we’ll take spirit in any form we can get it, but there has to be a way to include a wider cross-section of the school.
The take-away lesson from the successful turnout is that spirit needs to come from student organizations, not Infomails. It is easier to make 50 students from a student organization show up together than to get one student to show up alone. If even half of the student orgs on campus got half their members to show up together to games, it could work wonders for our often spiritless campus.
Sporting events do not necessarily have to be exclusively about the action on the court – getting hundreds of people to come together for the atmosphere and the hot dogs is a feat in itself. But the fact that the day the team cut its losing streak was the same day that the Smith Center filled up begs the question: What comes first, the spirit or the winning team?
We don’t go to a big state school. Our team is not world-class. Most of us didn’t choose GW for the tailgating. But admit it, it would be nice to spend a few hours shouting and cheering ourselves hoarse every now and then for something that’s not on C-SPAN.
It doesn’t have to be just about basketball either. Other schools tend to capitalize on their traditions. Why can’t we? A schoolwide street fair, Hippo day or even just a big, old-fashioned annual barbecue would surely draw students. And just imagine all the photo ops for admissions brochures.
The bottom line is that it shouldn’t be so hard to get students to come out to events which are meant to be fun – it’s not like people are being sent out to the coal mines when they’re asked to attend a game or a barbecue. But if students are to actually show up, use the social networks that are already in place and encourage student leaders to get their groups to come out in full force.
After all, it works for the Greeks – why not the rest of the Colonials?