To say that our college campus is vastly different than high school is a bit of an obvious looking at the homecoming events for the past week by a series of visions featuring cramped hallways and mustard colored buses. What I had wrongly assumed to be a deeply religious experience had been, for a singular moment, a reliving of high school.
I was in search of reasoning for what I had seen, asking why I was the one to be shown these images of a distant past. It did not take much investigation before I realized that the inspiration for these was the line-up of events for homecoming. The list of dress-up days and the inclusion of a dance at the end of the week was something that I had thought were in a previous.
It seemed as though the college students themselves were not willing to embrace the dress-up days. The Monday walk to class showed a very low amount of people wearing the ugly sweater that was encouraged for all to wear. In some instances, it was possible that some were complying, although the intentionality was unclear. Throughout the rest of the week, I saw similar disinterest in committing to the dress up days.
I am all in favor of creating an excited group of students to celebrate the homecoming week where alumni are present and having nostalgic moments of their time at college, I just believe that the line should be drawn where the events are bringing current students closer to high school. When I think of a school dance I’m dragged into recollections of being forced to talk to parent chaperones in order to grab some punch.
I enjoy the events that the Office of Student Involvement (OSI) puts on regularly and, with the exception of the dress up days and dance, the events were well thought out. The issue, I believe, can be traced back to a search for a way to inspire students to be outwardly supportive of their school. I think that this can be done with the help of the OSI, but the push toward school spirit could be done in ways that are much subtler and having to do less with frightful memories of previous schooling.
I wish that I had more answers on what could be done to assist in the monumental task of creating students who are adamantly for the school. It may be quite difficult, to construct from the foundation up a place where people can feel safe and at home. To make students comfortable in their school, emphasizing that they are here for a reason. The best way to foster a sense of home within the campus is to create a school that supports the community and in turn the community will support the school.