The first days of school in late August bring with them a sense of beginning, a sense of belonging and a spirit of affiliation. At UVU this is mostly true, all but the spirit of affiliation part.
It’s a regular occurrence on campus to find students wearing shirts, hats and other accessories colored a certain shade of navy blue, littered with logos of another Utah Valley university, all while Utah Valley green can be hard to detect.
Not only do the halls sometimes have a bluish tint as the train of students moves every which way to their various classes, but the attendance at UVU sporting events continues to suffer. The feeling that school spirit takes a backseat as part of the UVU lifestyle seems to loom large at Utah Valley.
While school spirit is an important aspect to university life, the students aren’t all to blame for the lack of enthusiasm. School affiliation is often pinpointed by the universities success on the athletic field, and while UVU has been largely successful as a transitioning university competing at the division I level, its success as a whole has been under the radar and against lesser-known competition.
Two things separate UVU from traditional universities and the spirit that resonates within students. As long as Utah Valley remains without a football team there will be minimal school spirit. College football has become a sub-culture of college life and schools without a team seem to fall through the cracks. In the meantime, UVU students will continue to clutch to the blue or the red of college football in Utah until they have a team of their own to cheer for on Saturday afternoons.
The other thing that holds students back from completely bleeding green is the lack of a rivalry. UVU will always have somewhat of a rivalry with BYU, but until UVU registers on the Brigham Young radar as a formidable opponent on a regular basis, that rivalry won’t grow. There have been glimpses of rivalry. Chicago State has become a Great West Conference rival of late, and whenever Utah State makes the trip to the McKay Center in men’s basketball, the attendance gets a major boost.
Is there a solution in the near future to the lack of school spirit? If you’re waiting for a football team – don’t hold your breath. However, as Utah Valley begins competing in the Great West Conference, rivalries will mature. As UVU competes for conference championships year-in and year-out, those blue shirts will become a certain shade of green.