College life is usually full of history and traditions. These practices are passed down from year to year and contribute to the rich heritage of a school. They are unifying forces that promote campus spirit and keep students of all ages and backgrounds engaged with their school.
Colorado State University-Pueblo has 80 years of history and celebrations to draw from, but there are no real traditions to reflect that valuable past.
Richard Joyce, a journalism professor at CSU-Pueblo, has been on campus for years as both a student and an instructor. He remembers when the campus hosted local bands and enjoyed large annual gatherings with lots of food, drinks and music.
“We had bonfires before games. There was one event called ‘Keggers on the Prairie’ and another called ‘Rock on the Bricks.’ There was no budget, so they were all used as fundraisers, and they drew a lot of people. I think these events stopped for a variety of reasons,” he said.
Looking back at CSU-Pueblo’s past, Joyce said there were a few faculty members and students who took the initiative to plan events and carry them over from year to year. But when those individuals left the school, the events left with them.
Joyce feels that CSU-Pueblo’s status as a commuter school is another part of the problem. Because the majority of students live off campus, there is a disconnection between those who are invested in the school and those who just come to class and leave.
“Without an emotional connection, there can be no traditions. It’s the changing culture of the country as a whole. Traditions are failing even within families,” he said.
Some students believe that CSU-Pueblo needs traditions to attract new freshmen and transfer students.
“We need an overpowering unified force,” said one student who requested to remain anonymous. “Traditions are upheld by people who care, and we have to start caring to make things good on our campus.”
This semester, Maya Rugg is trying to start a simple tradition called “Ugly Sweater Wednesday.” She is a senior mass communications student and a member of the ThunderWolves track and field team. She came to Pueblo from Mesa Community College in Arizona, where a group of students took part in a similar activity.
“When I came to CSU-Pueblo, it’s more like sweater weather here, so I tried to spread the word. I could only get a couple of people to participate, but I’m not going to give up,” Rugg said. “Once it gets warm, we are going to try for “Hawaiian Shirt Thursday” to see if we can get more people involved.”
It doesn’t cost a lot of money, and Goodwill always has a decent selection of sweaters and shirts, according to Rugg. She feels this is a simple way to connect students on campus. But without participation and support, traditions like these will never get off the ground.
Rugg and her friends believe that CSU-Pueblo would really benefit from traditions that bring people together, even ones as simple as wearing an ugly sweater on Wednesdays.
Have you been to a school where students take part in traditions? What types of traditions would you like to see at CSU-Pueblo? Do you think it’s possible for a commuter campus like CSU-Pueblo to embrace traditions and keep them active?
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