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Saturday, Sep 25, 2021

Mercer, free gifts should not be incentives for school spirit

Over the past three years of my attendance at Mercer I have noticed a pretty consistent trend amongst the student body: Mercer students love free stuff.

From what I observe, the most popular and time honored traditions at Mercer are the annual Christmas Tree Lighting and Founder’s Day. However, I find it absolutely absurd how if you were to ask the average Mercer student why they go to these events they would automatically say the promise of free stuff.

The mug after the Christmas Tree Lighting is a definite favorite. And who among us doesn’t love receiving that long sleeve t-shirt after the Founder’s day speaker finishes talking? Don’t get me wrong, I love the free stuff just as much as the next student, but I think we shouldn’t have to use incentives to bring in a large crowd.

The student body should want to participate. Take the basketball games for example. During an average men’s basketball game, the student section is never completely filled with Mercer students.

On the off chance that the student section is filled, most of the time they aren’t nearly as spirited as they should be. The largest crowd at basketball games is because of a promise of free pizza and possibly other free items, some of which include the infamous Mercer shirt of various designs.

As a junior, I have become rather disappointed with the sense of school spirit around campus. I don’t find myself overly spirited or filled with pride, but I do make it a point to get involved. I care about Mercer and I really do enjoy the traditions that make up my Mercer experience.

I love Homecoming week, the Christmas Tree Lighting and I especially love Founder’s day. I would go to these events even without the incentive of a free token to remember the event by.

But the truth of the matter is the majority of the student body would not come out to these events if it weren’t for those free objects. I believe that even homecoming has become a little more lackluster since my freshman year due to the fact that we have to pay for homecoming shirts. How ridiculous is that?

Homecoming week isn’t supposed to focus on alumni coming back and visiting Mercer and reliving the “good ole’ days.” It’s about the current student body making memories to last a lifetime.

Yes, students come out to the big homecoming game, but what about the other sports? Without the promise of priority tickets to Homecoming, there would be a dramatic decrease in fall sports attendance.

Not to say that these sports don’t draw a crowd on their own, but the crowd is always bigger when the game has been publicized as a priority game.

Sure, we Mercer students pay enough to get the education we receive and we feel as though we have a right to the free stuff.

If anything, we feel as though they owe it to us. However, I think there is definitely room for improvement when it comes to the amount of school spirit and pride that comes from the student body.

If Mercer students have enough pride for their school, the free stuff shouldn’t matter and attendance should be high at these events in spite of the materialistic incentives.


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