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College Spirit

College Spirit

Expressing Loyalty and Rivalry

(p.163) 5 Chapter College Spirit
Campus Traditions
Simon J. Bronner
University Press of Mississippi

One way for college students to show their loyalty to their alma mater is through the “college spirit.” Many students and alumni consider college spirit to be more than cheering on their institution; it is also a means to express their fondness for one another living in community that is the campus. As part of the campus tradition, college spirit is evident in homecoming celebrations, fight songs and alma mater songs, and sports. Spirit is also evident in collegians’ self-deprecation and certainly in organized stunts intended to quash the spirits of rival institutions. Indeed, college spirit is driven by loyalty and rivalry, but it also gives many students in the mega-university a sense of social belonging. Whereas spirit in the old-time college arose spontaneously on campus, it was institutionalized by many universities with the organization of student “spirit clubs.”

Keywords:   college spirit, campus tradition, homecoming, fight songs, sports, loyalty, rivalry, mega-university, spirit clubs, college students

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