In recent years, school spirit has not been at the forefront of the hearts and minds of the Occidental student body. The stands are rarely filled to even half of their capacity for sporting events, and many students are not even aware of the numerous musical performances, poetry readings or art exhibitions that regularly take place on campus.
But last Saturday at Jack Kemp Stadium, the Occidental football team played in front of a raucous crowd of 3,125 people. The difference between this game and other home games during the season was the presence of alumni, who found themselves back on campus for the weekend’s homecoming festivities. In fact, it was two alumni from ‘72 who led cheers and helped a sleepy crowd wake up.
It is important that both the alumni and the college continue to work together to get graduates to return to Occidental. Their presence is a significant factor in fostering a strong, tight-knit community that lasts beyond the four years of undergraduate education.
It is no secret that this a contentious time at Occidental, with students and faculty constantly questioning the actions of the administration. This can be construed as a positive, since Occidental has a rich history of social activism and vocalizing concerns. At the same time, the larger Occidental community should be wary that students will become totally disillusioned at the end of their college experience.
The alumni association can prevent that from happening by incentivizing alumni to return to campus. Their presence throughout the weekend no doubt had an impact on the current students. After months of frustration, the student body witnessed a group of adults return to their alma mater and look upon the college with pride. It was at Occidental where they experienced some of the best years of their lives, and the college played an instrumental role in preparing them for success both in their professional and personal lives. The student body needs to be reminded, on occasion, that there are also many positive aspects of attending Occidental.
If alumni continue to be a visible presence at the myriad of unifying events on campus, perhaps current students will follow in their footsteps. And when they return—however many years from now—they can help continue to build on the lasting and proud connection between Occidental’s past and present.
This editorial represents the collective opinion of The Occidental Weekly Editorial Board. Each week, the editorial board will publish its viewpoint on a matter relevant to the Occidental community.