Art by Ally Armstrong
Pepperdine is in the midst of many transformations. Everything from Payson Library to Willie the Wave is receiving a major upgrade, and school spirit on campus should follow suit. School spirit elevates performance, combats isolation and is simply a lot of fun. Students should make intentional efforts to increase school spirit, and they can do so simply by showing up.
All of this begs the question, “Why does Pepperdine lack school spirit?” With numerous events for students to attend and a host of talents being showcased, it seems counterintuitive. One of the key causes of this deficiency is the fact that Pepperdine students across the board are high achievers.
Pepperdine students devote their time and energy to being outstanding in their own ways. However, this means that they often fail to set aside time to support one another. When students are engrossed in their own individual passions, school spirit tends to dwindle, according to Stephanie Lam’s article “Why School Spirit?” published Oct. 8, 2013 by Huffington Post.
Pepperdine students have the responsibility to intentionally counter this trend. While being dedicated to one’s own passions is important, it is also vital to support others in theirs. The benefits of increased school spirit are worth pursuing, both on an individual and campus-wide level.
School spirit is more than just a buzzword. It is incredibly important to both a university and its students. A positive school culture “is intangible, but it’s essential; you can walk into a school and know immediately whether or not you want to be there,” according to Michael Haberman’s article “Why School Culture Matters, and How to Improve It,” published April 10, 2013 by Huffington Post.
Additionally, strong school spirit improves the experience of students on an individual level. When a lot of students attend events and intentionally exude positivity, social isolation is reduced, according to Alan Reifman’s article “They’ve Got Spirit, Yes They Do,” published Jan. 1, 2011 by Psychology Today.
Although the words “school spirit” tend to evoke images of athletic events, they extend far beyond the realm of sports. School spirit can be defined as the enthusiasm that pervades the culture of an institution, and at Pepperdine, there is no shortage of things to be enthusiastic about.
To begin, the Fine Arts Department is home to incredibly talented students, and attending events that showcase said talents is a way that students can contribute to Pepperdine’s culture, making it more enthusiastic and supportive. Going to Dance in Flight, Songfest, PIT and theatrical and musical productions not only provides entertainment but also serves as building blocks to better school spirit.
The Board also hosts many events, all of which are opportunities to help school spirit grow. Coffeehouse, movie nights and free food — all of these things contribute to Pepperdine’s climate, making it a more exciting place to be. These events also provide a good time, which is valuable to student wellbeing.
Athletic events are undoubtably a major component of developing school spirit. They are excellent opportunities for the student body to loudly showcase its enthusiasm for Pepperdine.
Additionally, at smaller, more academically prestigious schools such as Pepperdine, a higher percentage of the student body actually participates in intercollegiate athletics. As a result, when a student attends a game, there are good odds that they will get to see at least one of their friends compete, according to Alan Reifman. A victory is even more enjoyable when it’s achieved by a familiar face.
Higher attendance at an event is also correlated with improved performance, according to Nate Kornell’s article “Three Ways Sports Fans Can Help Their Team Win,” published May 26, 2011 by the Pacific Standard.
When people feel supported, they are more likely to succeed at what they are doing. This principle extends beyond athletics and into the realms of art and academics. In this way, audience members have power. Their presence can manifest good results.
When people work hard at something, they desire to feel appreciated. Recognition is like currency, motivating and repaying sacrifice. By being intentional about cultivating school spirit, students can promote this sense of recognition. It is time for the tide to turn toward a more spirited, exciting Pepperdine.
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