On Jan. 17, the Homecoming Bonfire will kick off Drexel’s biggest school spirit week. Similar to the school’s unconventional quarter system and unique co-op programs, Drexel’s school spirit can seem unique and unconventional from the outside.
The university defunded its football team in 1973 with the goal to reallocate funding towards other school-sponsored teams with better performance and a better use of budget funds. University President John Fry can be quoted from an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal in 2016.
“At Drexel we recognize the benefits of sports but are not burdened by the distractions that come with maintaining a football program. Drexel hasn’t fielded a team since 1973 when administrators realized its budget burden,” Fry wrote.
Without the major excitement generated by college football mania, Drexel students and staff miss out on the typical school spirit craze that is centered around a predominant sport team. Drexel has 18 Division I sport teams, with basketball generating the most attention, and yet the student body still seems to lack any excess pride and excitement about the success of the school’s teams and the school outside of academic achievements.
“None of the students here seem particularly invested in school spirit here. The students don’t seem to be hyped about the school, the sports, or the events,” Akari Seiner, class of 2025, second year biomedical engineering grad student. “It’s nothing against the school, Drexel is a great school with great opportunities, but it lacks the school pride in a lot of ways.”
The lack of excessive school spirit almost seems synonymous with a lack in a student community. Students on campus can be seen in small groups, representing the school through merchandise and showing up and showing out for games, but none of those factors seem to build that same sense of community that is seen in the hubris of a big state school with a successive football team.
“I hope to see more of a community driven by common goals and causes. It always helps people to feel like they are part of a community and people feel like they are a part of something when they have a common goal or cause,” said James Spaulding, a student in Goodwill College, class of 2027.
The student community is extensive, with over three hundred clubs and student organizations. So what is stopping the student body from having the same mania seen in Big Ten schools with successful football teams?