As a freshman, over the past year of university two things have become clear: you really have to push yourself to live the life of an isolated residence student, and the school spirit of UNB is horrifyingly nonexistent.
Let me start with this, had I gone to Acadia I’d be an Axeman, Western a Mustang. At UNB I am not a “Varsity Red.” There’s a stigma separating the university’s sports teams and what should be their fans, the students. I don’t know how it started but the snowball has to stop rolling. Had any men’s hockey teams in Ontario gone to the CIS finals their city would go crazy, but how is it that a team that has had so much success in the past decade can barely fill a student section? Also the fact that the majority of people I’ve asked still don’t know how the team placed shows the lack of interest. Our students aren’t behind our teams because there is no school spirit to be a Varsity Red — that is a separate entity entitled to only those in the locker rooms.
This isn’t designated solely to men’s hockey, or university athletics for that matter. It’s the entire university, from the lack of openness of clubs to the division between the residence houses and especially in McConnell Hall. Its like cabin fever keeps us huddled into our cliques and we ignore others around us. This divisional spirit may bring a lot of acquaintances but few meaningful connections. What really hurts is the missed opportunity for a great university experience — passing by day after day of endless routine with a lack of interesting happenings on campus.
Some may say I’m just bitter and need to get out more, which I probably do, but the Friday night options of doing nothing in residence or getting blasted at a club or on Graham St. are mind-numbingly devoid of true substance. The residences seem to have given up on doing anything exciting after frosh week, and the interesting activities, which are few and far between, seem to be poorly advertised or are only extended to certain cliques. Even if you’re interested in seeing a sports game, it isn’t easy to know where and when they are being held.
Personally my program is offered at a very limited number of schools in Canada and if I had a better option I wouldn’t shed a tear for this school, yes for the few friends I’ve made, but not the “Varsity Reds.” Because of the lack of school spirit I feel very little attachment to this school, and if I could do the rest of my degree on exchange I’d be ecstatic. Maybe there are elements of only seeing the first year, and the grass always being greener on the other side, and I’m sure other institutions deal with similar issues, but what’s stopping us from changing for the better?
This is a call to arms, to not be stagnant in our old divisional ways. Maybe that means a better system of advertising activities, or being committed to having different opportunities available throughout the year. Maybe it means tearing down the divisional walls at meal hall, or maybe it means a total rebranding of our school’s identity and athletic teams (my thought: UNB Schooners). I’m really not trying to condemn what’s currently happening, I’d just love to see this university grow into the experience we’ve all dreamed about.
If you have similar feelings feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org