By MacKenzie Bath
I came from a high school that cared about school spirit. People painted their faces and bodies for football games, we all came out to watch basketball and volleyball, everyone owned at least five items of school sponsored gear and countless clothes in the school colors and we had spirit weeks. Upon my arrival at Lewis & Clark, I found this spirit to be almost completely absent.
You won’t find an onslaught of LC students at any given school sports event. Some blame our lack of school spirit on our Division III athletics, but I believe this is a scapegoat. Yes, our athletics don’t necessarily perform as well as other schools, but that isn’t the reason we don’t go to games. We don’t show our unified support for any of the other groups on campus either. In fact, most students don’t own any clothing that is even school colors, aside from the free shirts given out during New Student Orientation. You are more likely to find a student wearing a sweatshirt for another school than for ours.
Why don’t we show up in spades to support each other? People talk about the community at LC, but the issue is that we simply do not have anything that brings us all together as one community. Instead, we are a bunch of adjacent groups with just enough overlap for us to feel connected. That isn’t school spirit, it’s just the outcome of a small school. There’s overlap between groups because there are only so many of us to be involved in things. You see the same people because we don’t have that many people.
However, the issue is not that LC students are entirely apathetic. We simply reject the idea of our whole school getting together for one event. We are all unique individuals and we are not passionate about the same things; events and groups on this campus are relatively self contained. The people that go to the football games, the dance shows, the symposia or the theater performances do not tend to change very much. People have their own things that they go to, and they will stick with that.
It seems to me that we are proud to be students here, but we do not deem it necessary to show that pride through school colors or events. Very few people look good in that particular shade of orange that someone decided would be a good choice for us. School spirit, with cheerleaders and orange balloons, feels fake to the average LC student. We are here to get an education, not prove our school’s superiority.
Perhaps this view is pretentious, as many liberal arts colleges are labeled. Yet we all came to this school knowing that there was not much school spirit to work with. If “ra-ra go team” was what you were looking for, LC does not offer you that. We love our school quietly and by ourselves. I’m content with that. We show that through the dedication we put into each class, event and relationship that we are personally involved in on campus: from theatre to fire art club. The LC community is thriving, even if we don’t do things the way that other colleges do.