Just taking in a game of St. John’s women’s volleyball against Syracuse at Carnesecca Arena reveals the difference between St. John’s and other rival schools.
It was an important Big East game on a Sunday, in the middle of the afternoon. A less-than-half-empty Carnesecca Arena was filled with a few Orange fans, about half the number of the Red Storm fans in attendance. Syracuse Alumni and fans came to the game despite the fact that Syracuse is about 265 miles away, a four and a half hour hike. While the trek down from upstate New York must have been a long and arduous one, it certainly did not show. The boisterous Orange fans out-yelled, out-cheered, and out-inspired St. John’s fans, and lifted their team to a 3-2 victory.
This kind of event is emblematic of a lot of St. John’s sporting events. Even last year’s attempts to garner fan interest by giving away tickets and free transportation did not work all that well for the men’s basketball team. Some of the female sports are almost reduced to having to play in front of reporters and a few close friends, and that’s if the weather is good. A growing number of sports on campus are going the way of the men’s basketball team’s declining fan interest. Even when teams are doing well, they have to practically throw themselves at the average student for support. All of this begs the question: Where has all of our school spirit gone?
“The sports teams at this school aren’t being correctly advertised,” junior Christina Carrega said. “The basketball team has not been doing that well since around 2002, but yet the other sports like soccer and baseball have been doing better, and still St. John’s is known more for their basketball team.”
Shelly Garcia, a graduate assistant for athletic marketing said, “We are doing a lot of things to get the students more involved. I think that the students have an ownership of the team, and we are trying to get them more involved,” Garcia said. “We are doing a lot of promotional things such as: t-shirt giveaways, and events such as the basketball events last night” (in reference to the basketball Tipoff on Nov. 3).
Not all students are complaining about the school, but there are still a lot of hard feelings between some students and their University. There is a growing sentiment that the university only has money on its mind and that the student is an afterthought.
“The school is treating me bad as far as tuition is concerned,” sophomore Shamika Hartgrove said. “They aren’t really giving me any money and I’m on the Dean’s List. I’m thinking about transferring because the tuition is so high. But apart from that the school is alright.”
Maybe the basis for school spirit lies in the experiences students have within the school. The experience, for students, has to be a good one for it to garner strong representation at events: a result of positive word of mouth from the students about their school.
Our poor school spirit is a reflection of what may be, for many, a poor college experience.