By Andrea Luchangco
What is school spirit?
While the exact definition of school spirit may differ, at its core, it is a sense of pride or loyalty students have for their school. It can lead to a willingness to participate in school-related activities and create a profound sense of community and belonging.
As you may have seen in TV shows or movies, usually in huge American universities with sprawling football fields, school spirit can extend much further beyond just passively participating in events. It can extend to students wearing school merch everywhere they go, screaming their hearts out for their school at inter-collegiate competitions, or taking the initiative to take on projects that would benefit the school’s community.
However, at IE University, students don’t seem to know whether they have it. The students interviewed had a hard time giving a distinct yes or no answer as to whether or not they had school spirit. This may be because students haven’t had enough opportunities to showcase or develop their school spirit. First-year student of Bachelor of Communication and Digital Media, Yehveniia Pohorila, said “I feel like in Madrid people don’t feel that attached to the school because students don’t spend so much time [on campus] and they’d rather go to the city.”
How does IE promote school spirit?
IE day took place September 21st at the IE tower in Madrid. Plenty were in attendance, and the event featured food, music, and other fun activities such as a prize for the person wearing the most blue. Even though based on the interviews done, most students lacked school spirit, that definitely wasn’t the case for everyone. One of the attendees of IE day excitedly said that she definitely had school spirit, proclaiming herself to be “fully IE coded” and both knowing and sharing the institution’s values. She also noted that she witnesses a lack of enthusiasm or school spirit among her peers.
In terms of showing spirit by wearing school merchandise, although there is an IE store on floor -4 of the tower, it is quite rare to see somebody sporting IE sweaters or shirts around campus. Out of ten students interviewed, only three had previously purchased IE merchandise.
IE also has a large variety of student-run clubs available for anyone to join. However, involvement in clubs or club events varied greatly from student to student, with some students not being in any clubs at all, and some going to multiple club events a week.
Why does school spirit matter?
School spirit may seem like a trivial matter reserved for cheerleaders at college games, but it can be worth much more than that. While it may not matter so much whether or not students are spotted wearing IE merchandise, having a sense of school spirit or pride creates a deeper sense of community that will stick with IE students long after their time here and allow for much more valuable alumni relationships.
Doing as little as attending a few school-sanctioned events a week, or taking part in clubs seems to have an astounding correlation with how excited students are about university. This means that building a university culture more closely centered around school spirit could potentially increase student involvement in both extracurricular activities and school matters.
School spirit can be the excitement that two people share when finding out they went to the same university or the pride that both students and alumni may feel when sharing their experiences at IE University. School spirit, as put by Tom Collier of VOA News, “is about being invested in a part of this institution forever, and being united as a kind of college family.”
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.com