Alternatives to expressing school spirit aside from sports games

Editor’s note: This letter is a response to a previous column, “An open letter to graduate students about school spirit,” published in the Oct. 8, 2013, edition of The Daily Illini.

Dear annoying sports fans,

Did it ever occur to you all that the reason many of us graduate students do not go to your little spirit activities is because we see sports as a drain on our institution’s finances, and as a time suck on the limited and already small attentions of the students we are so desperately trying to educate? And as something that, since it is not academic, has no place in university, especially as it encourages a whole set of racist, sexist, homophobic and classist practices, which many of us fight against both in our work and our daily lives?

Please, don’t assume my and other’s lack of attendance is laziness, when in fact it is a quiet protest. Quiet because many of the drunken privileged masses who attend these events are not particularly kind to those who do not share their spirit, not for our University, but for its sports team.

May I suggest a better display of school spirit?

Join the Graduate Employees’ Organization, which fought tirelessly for graduate students’ rights. Attend one of the other multitude of events offered at this University, like art openings at the Krannert gallery, plays and concerts at the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts and the Armory Free Theatre, or attend a conference or workshop at one of our cultural houses or the Women’s Resource Center.

In short, why not broaden the myopic view of what the college experience “should be?”

Or at least allow me and my cohort to stay in our wonderfully diverse little world while not being harassed for supposedly not caring about an institution that as graduate students and teaching assistants, we give to, as much as we get from it.

Susan Livingston,

graduate student in Art Education