Plans to Revamp College Spirit

Alex Goles ’22, Contributing Writer

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Dickinson College’s Office of Student Life recently emphasized the importance of athletics at the college, and has taken steps towards revamping college spirit around athletics for the 2019-2020 school year. This call to action, though, does not only encourage support for athletics.

According to Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students George Stroud, “the concerns that I heard from students, athletes and those who aren’t, is that they’re different experiences”. Stroud said he is ready to confront the issue and change the culture. “We’re one Dickinson,” he said, “shouldn’t we all have similar experiences?”

In efforts to bridge the gap between students and student athletes, Stroud is encouraging the student body to take on the initiative. He said, “it didn’t appear as if student athletes were always connected with things outside of athletics.” He explained that this is something he would like to change because, “when we start to have folks seeing that athletic endeavors are just as important as people who are in drama and dance, we can all support each other.” Stroud continued that student athletes have to support other extracurricular groups to increase support for their own teams and that the responsibility is on the students to connect with one another and support each other.

In terms of athletic spirit, event attendance has been a primary struggle. Director of Athletics Joel Quattrone said, “I don’t believe attendance has decreased, but it has never been where we want it to be”. Encouraging students to go to athletic events has been difficult, though, from a convenience standpoint. Jess Kiefer ’22 ,a soccer player, said, “if we can find ways to make events more convenient and accessible, I think the support would definitely be there”. Kiefer continued that she thinks the new Sideline store and other creative ways to encourage students to attend athletic events should help with attendance.

“Our desire is to offer a competitive athletics spectator experience that is enjoyable,” Quattrone said, “one where the community comes out and supports their classmates and [the] institution.” Highlighting school spirit and pride is important for Dickinson, and brainstorming initiatives for athletic attendance to increase is always happening. Peter LaBracio ’22, a member of the football team and Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SACC), said that SACC has thought of possibly creating a “brother sister” team for opposite seasons. This would encourage athletic teams that are not in season to support the ones that are. To include the entire student body, SAAC has organized T-shirts and other fun ways to motivate people to attend certain sports events, LaBracio said. He explained that support for events needs to come from both the smaller athletics community and the entire student body as a whole.

“There are opportunities for each side to become engaged,” Stroud says. “For me and others in the administration to be at different functions because if we’re there, then people see it’s important” Stroud highlights leading by example and showing other students how to get involved. If everyone in the Dickinson community feels valued and supported, support for every aspect of student life will be there, he explained.