“What Would You Do To Raise School Spirit?” was an opinion piece written by Mary Ann Colantonio, published in the October 16, 1958, issue of “The Outlook.” Although published many decades ago, the article’s topic is one that could easily apply to the Opinion section today. Let’s take a look at how students from the 50s perceived school spirit on campus compared to now.
In the original 1958 piece, Jack McGrath, class of ‘60, advised, “I would suggest that there be some sort of activity to begin each year with.” Nowadays, the academic school year is ushered to a start alongside football season. When games are hosted on Monmouth’s campus, there’s a dedicated student section where fellow Hawks congregate, cheering for their team while sporting school-apparel. It’s an opportunity that brings people together, whether you’re the one playing or in the stands watching. I’m sure McGrath would have enjoyed the spectacle that is home football games. Although school spirit isn’t reserved to just sporting events, it definitely contributes to the hype on campus.
McGrath continued, “Some sort of fall sport or special event, such as freshman week where the freshmen would be required to wear beanies, name cards, etc.” As a freshman, I know exactly what McGrath is referring to, only we call it “Orientation Week”— a week filled with various activities aimed at helping first-years acclimate to campus before the official start of the semester. I remember we were all placed into small groups of around 16 people to introduce ourselves, play games, ask questions, and, ultimately, get in the school spirit. I thought freshman orientation was a creative and fun way to meet new people and learn more about everything Monmouth has to offer. I met new friends, got to know people in my dorm building, learned about the resources available, and interacted with our upperclassman Orientation Leaders.
John Smith, class of ‘50, added, “Monmouth needs students who live on campus. Commuting students usually haven’t broken their ties with high school friends and athletics.” I agree with Smith; Monmouth needs students to live on campus if the University wants any chance at school spirit. However, it’s not just commuter students who haven’t broken their ties with high school friends. For example, I keep in touch with my high school friends, and I don’t feel they limit my outlook on college. To Smith’s point though, it’s important you expand your friend circles, taking advantage of being on campus.
“I believe that the school spirit would increase with more people active in school functions, the problem is getting them interested in these functions,” said John Cordner, class of ’62. Monmouth has a lot of students from different walks of life, so, naturally, it’s difficult to appease everyone’s interests. In recent years, however, Monmouth has made an effort to offer an abundance of different extracurricular activities. The Involvement Fair, hosted both in the fall and spring semesters, showcases an array of clubs, intramural sports, fraternities/sororities, and other student-run organizations; any student is bound to find something they like. Clubs are a great way to get in the school spirit while meeting people who share similar interests.
I think the students before us would be happy to see how Monmouth has transformed for the better. As it turns out, the University does in fact listen to its students, even if it takes a couple decades.