On school spirit, and how to get it

Illustration by ALYSSA HANDELMAN
Illustration by ALYSSA HANDELMAN

Good sports programs are vital to American universities. Almost every facet of a university can be touched by good, profitable and inspiring programs.

A major sports school, the University of Alabama, made over $45 million in the 2011-2012 school year according to the Department of Education. That’s $45 million Alabama can move to a struggling academic department or to fund scholarships. It’s hard to quantify, but sports connect the campus to alumni in ways to which schools like UVM can’t really compare. It all boils down to school spirit: what you feel when you say you’re a Vermont alumni. 

School spirit matters. As Alastair Ingram, the voice of UVM hockey will tell you, the student section at the Gut is the best in Hockey East.

Alumni will never deny the sheer pride they felt when UVM pushed Boston University to the limit in a nail-biting 2009 Frozen Four appearance. Or T.J. Sorrentine’s shot “from the parking lot” during the first round of the NCAA college basketball tournament in 2005, knocking out powerhouse Syracuse.

These moments of triumph stand tall in UVM history, but compared to other schools, are few and far between.

UVM needs a proud tradition of its own, one which is simultaneously widely celebrated and capable to raising money to fund our construction and academic projects.

Obviously, we’ve had such events – and they weren’t always pretty: The Kake Walk, while a lucrative fundraiser, was clearly more harmful than good in its horrid mockery of racial equality. What UVM requires is an event that is uplifting, inclusive and capable of funding fledgling academic departments and programs.

In the past, we’ve heard talk of recreating the NHL’s Winter Classic at UVM, wherein two teams would compete on a makeshift rink as a fun and spirited annual tradition.

We should replicate an event like this. UVM needs an outdoor event which highlights the beauty of our state and of a sport with such a profound and cherished history, with the objective of raising school spirit and funds for our University.

It’s about time we had something to rally behind: Why not this?