Spirit Week Should Be More Visible, Accessible
Though The Homecoming Game And Dance Saw Great Success, Spirit Week Can Be Improved
Published: Sunday, October 6, 2013
Updated: Sunday, October 6, 2013 22:10
Through the combined efforts of Boston College Athletics, UGBC, NOTH, and the Student Programs Office, BC added several layers to the Homecoming celebration this year. In the recent past, the festivities have been confined to Saturday, which consisted of a football game followed by a semi-formal dance at a hotel in Boston. These elements remained for this weekend, but were supplemented by a Spirit Week Competition during the preceding week, a pep rally on Friday night, additional alumni outreach events integrated into game day celebrations, and the planned announcement of the result of the voting for the live eagle’s name during halftime of the game. The new additions to the celebration had varying degrees of success, but the traditional elements—the game and the dance—both saw a relatively impressive turnout.
Most noticeably, the live eagle and the expected announcement of its new name were both absent from the Saturday game due to complications caused by the government shutdown, according to the athletic department. Because of the day-long limbo in which Army was unsure if they would be able to make it to Boston for the game, Athletics held off on making arrangements to transport the eagle to campus.
The temporary uncertainty regarding whether or not the game would occur may have also contributed to a poor showing for the Spirit Week competitions, but does not fully explain the phenomenon. To participate in the competitions, a student had to be a part of a 10-person team. By the time registration ended on Friday, Sept. 27, 13 teams had registered, and only five went on to participate in any of the competitions. Students who made teams expressed disappointment in the lack of direction and publicity regarding the ways in which they earned points, resulting in eight teams that did not participate at all.
While the idea behind having a Spirit Week leading up to Homecoming Weekend is certainly a good one, the execution must be altered in future years to produce better results. The threshold of interest and time required to assemble and register a team and then partake in the events cannot be so high as to only attract those students who already display a high level of school spirit. If the goal is to foster this same sense of spirit in the greater student body, the Spirit Week activities must be far more visible and accessible. While competitions such as the one envisioned for this Spirit Week can be a good way to attract participation, the level of time and initiative required kept those who are only mildly interested from registering a team, especially for a competition that is new and therefore not well-established.
In future years, Spirit Week would benefit from more visibility around campus during the school day while students are out and about. A setup in O’Neill Plaza or the Quad featuring music and BC-themed decorations or giveaways would be an easy way to reach a greater number of students. Such a set-up could also include smaller, individual competitions that are less time-consuming and that students could accomplish in five minutes during their free time or on their way to the library. Another way to increase attendance would be to host events that involved the athletes, such as the opportunity to play HORSE with the basketball players for an hour during the afternoon. Activities like these would require small amounts of time from students, offer relatively high reward, and result in a Spirit Week that engages the majority of students, not just the already highly-spirited minority.
Despite the low involvement in Spirit Week, however, the Pep Rally and the Homecoming dance both drew sizeable crowds and were well-organized and executed. The fireworks display was substantial and enjoyable, drawing students and alumni to Shea Field on Friday night. The decision to make attendance at the Pep Rally worth two Gold Pass points and give away free t-shirts was a smart way to draw in those who may not have otherwise been interested. The Homecoming dance sold out, and the transportation ran smoothly and was well-executed, allowing students the flexibility of leaving before the official end of the event at 1 a.m. The game itself also drew a strong crowd of both students and alumni, uniting the BC community to watch its football team win—a welcome highlight to a successful Homecoming.