It’s that time of year: School spirit is at its peak with college basketball underway and college football approaching bowl season. While some may think school spirit does not matter, I believe it is important because of the atmosphere it brings to a university.

The seats at Webster Bank Arena have remained relatively empty for the start of the Fairfield University Basketball Season. The stands are often filled with more people supporting the away team. Fairfield is a great school, but may be if we had a little more school spirit we could increase our national recognition.

School spirit matters to everyone: faculty, students, athletes and alumni. It creates pride for the school and gets people in the stands. Student-athletes love a big audience because it gets the adrenaline pumping. A big turnout makes the game more enjoyable for both athletes and students. Fan attendance at sports events can change the momentum of a game quickly and gives athletes an extra edge to pull away with a victory.

But school spirit doesn’t just exist on the field or in the gym; it also carries over on campus.  How well a student body displays their school spirit may be the deciding factor for a prospective student visiting campus. It creates a sense of belongingness and unites the student population. When people belong to something they often become more committed and are more active in student activities. This makes students more aware of school events and can make the college experience more enjoyable. Students who are active give themselves the opportunity to branch out and meet new people forging relationships that may last beyond college. Through school spirit tradition is created and passed down from generation to generation. Tradition makes a college standout among others and makes college life more exciting.

Student performance can also benefit from school spirit. Those who have pride in their institution want to represent their school. If students feel pride they will work hard in the classroom to remain at the college.

Even after graduation, school spirit matters to a college or university. Graduates that take pride in their school may give back to the university through donations as a thank you for their experiences. Boosters that give back provide funding for new buildings, equipment, scholarships, and athletic facilities. A college can never have too many donations.

Most of college life deals with school spirit in some way. Many believe school spirit only matters for fan attendance at sport events. However, it also makes the college experience for students more fun and memorable. School spirit is more than just painting a giant red stag on your face; it is ultimately what makes a university.

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