Raising Spirits

In a recent survey conducted by The Torch, in which 80 students were asked to rank St. John’s school spirit on a scale of one to 10 (one being the worst, 10 being the best) 53 percent gave an answer between one and five.

To many, this would seem to be a valid indication of an ongoing lack of pride in the St. John’s student body and an apathetic attitude in general.

However, others would argue that the numbers do not show the growing trend toward more spirit at St. John’s, and the changes that are soon to come.

Sophomore John Kelly is the person with the potential to change the trend of poor spirit in the Red Storm cheering section. Head of the School Spirit Committee at St. John’s since last year, Kelly said the lack of spirit had been a problem in recent St. John’s history, but as far as he is concerned, improvements are on the way.

“Just look around at all of the St. John’s shirts you see people wearing, to the sea of red you see at our fall sports,” he said.
“Since the creation of the Redzone Student Section through the student government we have had a number of season and school records in terms of student attendance at our games,” Kelly said.

He added that on Sept. 14, at the televised men’s soccer game held at Belson Stadium, the student section was completely full and students received Cold Stone coupons and t-shirts.
“One of the problems is that for too long students have sort of been pushed to the background here at St. John’s and they haven’t really felt a reason to connect to the University,” he said. The Redzone Student Section is also working with Athletic Marketing and Student Government, Inc. to profit from their publicity potential.

“Redzone even has a Facebook group,” Kelly said.
Kelly is also the chair of the float committee for the homecoming event being held from Oct. 15 to Oct. 21. “We are hoping to get a lot of students back in touch with the university through homecoming,” he said.

Freshman Amelia Straub said she had already been at some soccer games and a couple of programs on campus.
“There seems to be a good portion of the school that does have some definite spirit, but for the vast majority of the students, they are just here and the players are separate,” she said. “I think the attendances are less than what they want them to be.”
Kelly did admit one disappointment about Red Storm student support.

“I kind of expected more fanatics at St. John’s, especially for basketball,” he said.

“I think fanatics here are more sporadic in a sense,” agreed Barret Burguieres, a freshman. “I can understand why they don’t have a football team: they are not very competitive. But even so, I think football in general would bring more hype, if you will.” He added that he believes students are more likely to be big fans of sports that their teams are successful in.

Freshman Deborah Brooks said that she has yet to attend a sporting event, but added that “the [older students] seem very excited.”