OPINION: School spirit still has a place in this generation

*Columns are the opinions of their respective authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Wichitan as an organization.*

Generation Z has made a namesake already as one of the most outspoken generations in recent history. Every day, Gen-Z takes to twitter or instagram to publicly and passionately defend their favorite politicians, celebrities and ideologies. Despite this, that passion has not translated to school spirit as Gen-Z students attend college.

ESPN has reported that college athletics attendance numbers have declined. At surface level this could be attributed to COVID-19, but these numbers have been in decline for a long time. While attendance at these games is far from the only way to show school pride, it’s a pretty consistent and accurate marker of school spirit levels overall. To me personally, given these statistics, it doesn’t surprise me that mental health among college students is also declining.

As human beings, we need a sense of belonging and camaraderie in order to function successfully. This is the very reason we have nations and states in the first place. In order to achieve this sense of togetherness, we as humans have always rallied around ideas, countries or specific people. For this generation that is less patriotic and religious than prior generations, the university you attend is a perfect institution to rally with similarly aged people with shared experiences. You can practice this school spirit at MSU Texas by taking a look at the flyers in the CSC and join one of the many on-campus organizations, attend the many different events each week on campus and “buy-in” to the traditions on campus.

Personally, I have always bought in heavily to school spirit. I attended Aubrey ISD for thirteen years and I fully bought into “Chaparral Pride.” Sure, some people thought that was dumb, but I know I had a lot more fun attending pep rally’s, attending theatre productions and dressing up at games than they did complaining about those things. Now that I’m a Mustang, I’ve kept up that same school spirit, and honestly, sometimes going to school events and letting myself have fun is the only thing that gets me through the monotonous lull that is the academic semester.

I understand some people are afraid of looking silly or stupid, but you’re an adult. In my experience, most people really don’t care if you look a little silly. If you do have friends that are embarrassed just because you’re having fun then you need better friends. Trust me; if you go to events such as football games, intramural sports, cultural showcases and homecoming and make an effort to have fun, you’ll find new friends.

There are also a high number of Gen-Z students who are anti-establishment. According to research done by morningconsult.com, there is declining trust amongst Gen-Z in the police, U.S. government, the criminal justice system and the media. There is nothing wrong with being skeptical of these things; it’s our job to hold these institutions accountable. While that’s also true with our university, MSU isn’t who is killing unarmed minorities, meddling in foreign affairs or locking innocent men and women up in prison. Following Mustang traditions, going to events and rallying around your school to feel camaraderie doesn’t make you any less socially conscious. In fact, one way to show school spirit is to participate in marches and rallies for social causes on campus.

I know how socially anxious this generation is. Especially after COVID hit, I have found it harder and harder to be involved on campus, but if you push yourself and show some pride in your school you won’t regret it.