Armed with pompoms and ready to root for the team, cheerleaders are famous for their perky personas and ability to enhance school spirit. But what happens when the cheerleaders are left with little spirit to perk up?
This is often the case at GW, where school-run events at the Marvin Center go largely unattended and the men’s basketball team’s losing streak does little to amplify school pride.
But the cheerleaders of GW are seemingly unfazed. As school spirit motivators and serious competitors in cheer competitions, members of the cheer team believe that GW spirit is alive and well.
“I think GW has a lot of spirit,” said Mandy Asgeirsson, a senior on the cheer team, “I think its definitely concentrated on certain groups of people at different times, but overall I think the school has a lot of school spirit.”
Members on the team emphasized that the amount of school pride is also an indicator of the amount of spirit the student body has.
“GW students tend to be very focus-driven individuals and that carries over into the school spirit side of things,” said cheerleader Brian Engel, a senior. “You don’t typically encounter a GW student that isn’t driven or happy to be at GW.”
Some GW students, however, argue that school spirit is minute and its absence is obvious at games as well as around campus,
“I walk around seeing people wearing Tulane shirts and other college’s names. We need a major sport or a winning basketball team in order to get more spirit,” complained freshman Richard Blumenfeld.
Blumenfeld is on the GW tennis team. Through his experience playing for the team he says that he sees minimal school support. “We’ve once had our opponents have more fans than us at a home match,” he said.
Freshman Dan Krizan, a member of the GW swim team, agrees that the school has little spirit, but says he expected it.
“It’s fun looking at state schools and seeing how much support they receive, but I knew coming into GW that we weren’t going to get that.” This February, to create more of a state school feel, the GW spirit office and Colonial Challenge featured the “Buff-Out Game,” where events such as a pre-game tailgate barbecue were organized to increase attendance to a men’s basketball game. The “Buff-out Game” also happened to be the game that ended the basketball team’s loosing streak.
Despite her mixed-feelings on the correlation between school spirit and team wins, cheerleader Asgeirsson stays steadfast in her belief that spirit thrives at GW. She said that school pride and spirit is not reliant on a sports team’s success. “Just because people aren’t coming to the basketball games doesn’t necessarily mean we don’t have school spirit.”
Her teammate Engel has a similar opinion. He believes that GW spirit should be measured based on how students are involved with the University and if they complain about a lack of spirit, it’s because they aren’t making enough of the opportunities given to them.
“I think its incumbent upon the student body to become involved,” he said. “Students can study abroad or join Greek life or become involved in extracurriculars. Those are the kinds of things you can do to promote school spirit a?nd pride in your student body.”
But some Greek-letter life members argue that Greek Life pride is the only resilient form of school pride they have. Freshman Daniel Reef , a member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity said, “Our version of school spirit is our Greek life affiliation.” He added, “When Obama won, that was school spirit.”