Fordham GSAS: Grad. Life: Spirit is Catching

Monday, January 3, 2011

Spirit is Catching



Happy New Year, Fordham GSAS! I hope you all had a wonderful time ringing in the New Year, wherever you were!
There’s always so much happiness going around on New Year’s Eve and Day. Or, as I like to call it, “good vibes.” Strangers on the street greet each other with a big “Happy New Year” no matter what time of day or night for at least 48 hours, and everyone seems to have an unlimited amount of hope. Yes, even the pessimists.
All this unbounded energy and spirit I saw on New Year’s (especially on New Year’s Eve itself) got me thinking about the concept of school spirit. School spirit is obviously important to many people. But what is school spirit? Is it defined by things like pep rallies, football games, and school colors? By clubs and orientations and founder’s days? Or is it something even more intangible, something that can only be measured individually and felt collectively? And is it harder for find this school spirit as a grad. student than as an undergrad.?
As you probably all know, Fordham’s undergraduate business school was recently renamed the Gabelli School of Business. When the donor and alum who the school is now named after (Mario Gabelli, GSB ’65) came to speak on campus last month, he also brought back an old Fordham tradition that many did not even know existed—a live ram. Apparently a real live version of our school’s mascot used to live on campus at one time, and Mr. Gabelli decided to bring this piece of Fordham’s history back to campus with him.
Sadly, I missed the ram on campus. But even hearing about this event made me feel more school spirit for Fordham than I think I ever had before. What is it about a little piece of history creeping back in that made me feel more connected to the school than I ever have in the last year and a half? I’m not really sure. But the ram represents Fordham as a whole, not just GBA, or GSAS, or any other division. And I think what’s really tough in grad. school compared to undergrad. is building a feeling of community among people who are so focused in on their own particular disciplines. Not only do most people not live on or even near campus, as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, but many of us isolate ourselves in our own departments without even realizing it. It’s the nature of graduate study, I suppose.
In all honesty, I think the Office of Student Development and the GSA actually do a really awesome job creating a sense of unity through things like orientation, the GSAS socials, and other events of that kind. In fact, we’re probably more connected as a school than most other grad. schools I know of. But what the ram on campus got me thinking about was that intangible school spirit that I felt a bit more strongly in college (the same kind of spirit in some ways that I saw on New Year’s Eve), and what it takes to create or cultivate it. Should someone from GSAS petition to get an owl brought to campus, to represent GSAS’s own school seal? Perhaps we should get an Owlery on campus a la Harry Potter. Would something this silly strengthen the school spirit of GSAS students? I think we have a good basis already, especially compared to most schools. So what would it take to really bring it out? What is it, besides events and school colors, that makes school spirit?
I guess I don’t have many answers for you all in this post. During these first few days of 2011 (which are also the first few days of my last semester at Fordham), I’m mostly just wondering and pondering. I guess, without any answers to give you, all I can hope for is that this blog will contribute to that same spirit others at Fordham are already fostering.
Actually…comments might help with that goal, guys. ;)

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