As a new semester rolls around, campus leaders look for new ways to foster a more involved student experience. This initiative has led to the creation of an ad hoc spirit committee, whose goal is to foster a more prideful environment with additional involvement at campus-wide events, such as football games.
“At the end of June, Coach [Jerheme] Urban and Hugh Daschbach [senior director of Alumni Relations] called a group together to discuss home football game “˜fan’ experiences. What resulted was two ad hoc, temporary committees “” one to review and consider amendments to the tailgating policy and another to consider the “˜fan’ experience “” food, music, contests, etc.,” wrote Jamie Thompson, director for Student Involvement, in an email interview. “These groups are still convening, and we await more information and direction from the initial committee that is gathering in June.”
Both committees are still in the works, as the idea has been underway for only a couple of months. However, each has already developed an idea of what they would like to do in the upcoming semester.
“Essentially, we’ve had one meeting so far, which was led by Jamie Thompson, and while we have no budget, no restrictions, what would the ideal student experience look like,” said Shannon Edmond, coordinator for student programs.
A lack of a budget means the committee won’t be able to take any immediate action; however, they look forward to partnering with different organizations on campus to resolve funding. Once that happens, they hope to provide the campus with swag, music and themed sports games, which they hope will garner campus-wide support.
Football games will be the focus of the initiative to revise the tailgating policy. However, as the spirit committee receives more support, they hope to expand it to other sports, such as soccer.
“In the past, we’ve had to shut it down as the game starts,” said Jeremy Allen, assistant director for Student Involvement and coordinator for Greek life. “We want it to be more open so that students can bring food, bring drinks and have a good time.”
By revising the tailgating policy, organizations will have an easier time sponsoring such events. Some committee members believe that Greek life could be a partner that steps up to help sponsor these events.
“We think it would be really awesome to have Greek life organizations be spearheads,” Edmond said. “Student organizations are our leaders and people will look to them.”
Members agree Greek life will most likely be a large part of the push for an increased spirit presence. In planning tailgating events, Allen has already made an effort to include these organizations.
“During alumni weekend, fraternity and sorority life is actually part of the all-campus picnic this year, which is right before the football game. Different alumni events will be going on, Greek life will have the Greek Carnival, other offices will also be involved in that,” Allen said. “It’ll be an all-encompassing opportunity.”
As such, the committee intends to form more events as the semester progresses. While Trinity already undertakes many school pride initiatives, this group hopes to capitalize on them.
“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with school spirit. The committee [is just] looking at how to build on the successes that we’ve had. Trinity is a smaller school, and there are challenges with that, but there are also really cool things that can be done through small size,” Allen said. “It’s a unique setting at Trinity and the committee just wants to build that role as much as possible.”