For some students, they base where they will go to college based solely on the campus culture and the school spirit. In my case, I didn't put much consideration into it. Whether or not a school had a football team or enthusiasm for any sport was not important to me.
In retrospect, I am not sure why this was not a focus of mine. Perhaps it was because I went to an all-girls high school where our school spirit came in the form of various school traditions as opposed to sporting events.
Now, I go to a university where we joke at how abysmal our school spirit is. We don't have a football team and despite having Division I men's and women's basketball teams in the A-10 conference and free entrance to the games, no one goes.
The building I live in shares an alley with our basketball arena and I'll be walking home after class, look into the arena when there's a game, and the only people I can see in the stands are members of the band.
It does make me feel bad when I walk by and see no one cheering on our team, but then again so many people are in class on the weeknights when there are games and even when the games are on the weekends, people have other priorities.
We just don't have the same school spirit that other schools do.
Gw has an urban campus with the happenings of Washington, DC competing for our attention. In the eyes of our students, there are brunch reservations to make, internships to be had, happy hours to go to, art events, and other activities— not some basketball game.
This isn't to say that there isn't a sense of a community on our campus. There definitely is, but the sense of community is contained among friend groups and extracurricular activities.
I consider myself to be a part of the "service community" on campus, and when I tell people this, they know what I mean. I am happy in this community and I have real genuine friendships I can depend upon.
However, I grew up in the shadow of the University of Washington where both of my parents attended. My dad still holds on to his days of being in a fraternity and regularly gets together with his fraternity brothers.
When I was young, he and I would always love to go to men's and women's basketball games to the point we had season tickets. Now, the focus is football and if I am ever home when there is a game, I'll do my dad the favor of going to the tailgate with him and my mom.
Being at the tailgates and going to the football games I can live vicariously through him and friends my age who go to large state schools. It makes my heart strings tug a little bit when I see my cousin who goes to Washington State University post weekly on her SnapChat stories of the football games and all her school spirit.
But instead of roaring crowds that fill stadiums, on my campus, you'll hear people cheering on their friends who are in dance shows, a cappella concerts, and other student performance groups. It is then where I look around and see the sense of community that my school has. We appreciate and cheer on those people who are our friends, but it is rare that we get together to cheer our school on.
So all of this is to say that my college campus is not like the ones you'll see in the movies, but that's okay. We create a community in our own ways. It may not be full of huge stadiums with raging football fans and weekends spent drinking but we create our own memories that one day we will look back on with nostalgia.