“In Deo Speramus”: An open call to revive our motto

Let’s face it, sports at Brown are what they are. So you could imagine the perplexity that I experience when I hear my friends at larger schools with D-1 football teams chanting these dreadfully esoteric expressions such as “Go Blue,” “Hook Em’ Horns,” or, very popular among my Trojan buddies, “Fight On.” Thankfully, I have “In Deo Speramus.” How’s that for esoteric?

Go Bears

It’s been a while since we’ve used this motto in daily conversation. I think we should revive it. Let me tell you why.

“In Deo Speramus” is a versatile expression. It can be used triumphantly, in times of happiness or success. But it can also be used more literally, to affirm optimism in times of expectation, grief, or distress: just before the Spring Weekend lineup is announced, upon seeing Jesse Waters on campus, or even before attempting to connect to Brown-Secure.

For your convenience, because we know you must be so eager to go out and employ the old motto, we’ve created a list of more times when it is both within the realm of social acceptability and rhetorically fruitful to say “In Deo Speramus.” We think it’s best said in a sort of wizardly, antiquated voice, as if read by a Medieval serf making a decree. Be careful with that, though, at least until it catches on.

1. At any sports game. A perhaps less traditional use of the motto. Some may contend that we spend more time in the library than on the football field. I say we bring the library to the football field. Did your friend just send you a Snapchat from a school soccer game? Send that puppy back the next time (if there is a next time) you’re at a Brown sporting event and caption it “In Deo Speramus.” I promise, your friend will become wildly jealous.

2. When you’re at another school. Any time spent on another school’s campus warrants an announcement of “In Deo Speramus,” especially with the intention of interrupting a tour and/or further disorienting misled pre-frosh.

3. When you change your grade option right before the deadline. Just decided to take a class S/NC? Not sure it was the right decision? Now’s a good time to say “In Deo Speramus.” It may not change anything, but at least you had a little faith, right?

4. When Ray Kelly comes to speak at Brown. In any case, you know it’s not going to end very well.

5. When you forgot your umbrella during a freak rainstorm and you’re stranded on Thayer. No umbrella? Use your best wizard voice and call out “In Deo Speramus!” Who knows, the storm may stop—or a fellow Brunonian, acknowledging your revival of the motto, will listen to your call and shelter you.

6. Upon receiving a housing lottery number. You may find yourself getting that number you never wanted, but upon receiving it, how do you react? In this fragile time, it’s best to throw in an “In Deo Speramus.”

7. When you want to make friends. Are you struggling to make friends as a first-year or even as a senior? Fred and Brandon became friends back in 2002 because of their common love for our motto.


“Hey man, In Deo Speramus?” “Yeah, of course, In Deo Speramus. Really nice to meet you.”

8. As a pickup line:
“In Deo Speramus.”
“Wow, you’re so dreamy.”

9. When you have nothing better to do with your time. Not engaged in a lecture? “In Deo Speramus” is a nice way to deal with your ennui. Are you sitting by your lonesome one night without anything to do? We all know you’re a little weird; you might as well say “In Deo Speramus.”

So you may find your friends at other schools enjoying regular tailgates, as well as close proximity to their stadiums and all that other stuff you find at state schools. But do they have “In Deo Speramus”? That is the question I leave you with.

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