College Spirit

May 3rd, 2007

Every once in a while somebody rises to say that there isn't as much college spirit at dear old Alma Mater as there used to be. It is heard first regarding one institution of higher learning and then regarding another. A Cambridge special in the New York Times reports the results of a questionnaire at Harvard, according to which one man declared that he finds Harvard spirit pitifully weak. This will be taken with a grain of salt by those who have heard the same comment made on the spirit of other colleges.

It may be that we are going through a rather spiritless period at all our colleges indeed. That is, in the natural order of events the collegiate pendulum may be expected to swing from one side to the other, and there may be first a time in which there is great and voluble enthusiasm for Alma Mater and then a time of cynical self-repression. There may be alternating eras of "mass play" and "team work" on the one hand, and overdeveloped individualism on the other.

We notice, however, that when an emergency arises the sons of Brown, for instance, get back of Alma Mater, and push, shout, and contribute. If there has been criticism of certain definite policies or occurrences or tendencies, that makes no difference when the Big Brown Family is called upon to stand firm, shoulder to shoulder, for the University. And that is as it should be. We cannot all be expected to think alike on every college problem. But we can be expected to forgo our individualism, group interest, factionalism, and partisanship at the edge of the campus. It is Brown for us as against any other of her sister institutions, first, last, and all the time.

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Related Issue
July / August 2000