Brown has found itself atop a lot of rankings lists, some more useful than others. BlogDH covers them all. We’re infamous for having once been the university with the happiest students (it was like 6 years ago, leave us alone!). And we’ve done it while being pretty smart and sexy, too.
None of those rankings, however, would ever deem us a spirited student body. That’s a University of Michigan or Duke or Alabama thing. Indeed, Brunonians often take an ironic sort of pride in their lack of school spirit. We ham it up for “Brown State” during Homecoming; we don’t even know the fake words to our fight song; most of us don’t have a clue what our football team’s record is, even in the rare year that we’re kind of good.
I believe Brown students’ lack of school spirit is a serious problem, and it’s making our campus less engaged, less united, and less safe.
And when I talk about school spirit, I’m talking about something that means so much more than supporting a university’s sports teams. This isn’t about how many people showed up for the night game against Harvard or how many different Brown sweaters you own. It isn’t about whether or not you’ve given to the Senior Gift Committee (though you should!). This is about how much stock each of us takes in the label “Brown Student.” Right now, that trait, just about the only thing that we have in common — except, perhaps, a love for Dave Binder — doesn’t matter as much as it should. From what I’ve seen in the past four years, the consequences of this undervaluing of what it means to go here have been dire. This campus is without question more divided than it was when I came here.