Bring on the spirit fingers, Gophers fans

The University of Minnesota deserves some pride from its new and returning students.

Martha Pietruszewski

Welcome back, Gophers! As you’re winding down from your State Fair high and starting to realize that you still haven’t read that article for the first day of class, I want you to know I’m right there with you.

Another thing we all have in common is this great place we call our college — the University of Minnesota. I’m proud to be a Golden Gopher, and everyone else needs to be proud, too.

For example, we can start with the football games. Last year our record was 8-5, and this is certainly impressive. Let’s keep the winning streak going! We need to get out to the games more and support our teams.

A school whose name rhymes with “Badison” is certainly beating us on the team spirit front. Last year, the student season tickets sold out in less than an hour, and there are 14,000 seats in that section.

I’m not saying that we should all rush out and buy season tickets for football, hockey and basketball. It’s more reasonable to start small. If we go to one or two games and tell our friends about them — and then they start going to games — then maybe, just maybe, we can start rivaling the team that rhymes with “Madgers.”

Welcome Week is one great way the University is cultivating spirit for freshmen. I still remember my convocation and how I thought it was so exciting to finally be a part of a college community. The University needs to figure out a way to keep the magic going. How do we return to the attitude of our bright-eyed freshmen selves when the going gets tough and we’re in the middle of finals?

When fall turns into an endless winter, we need to remember why we came here in the first place.

Now, this need for spirit is not coming out of nowhere. The University deserves to have a fan base because it’s a great school. Our women’s hockey team has won the national championship title six times. Our business school was ranked 15th in the nation last year for its undergraduate program.

The University is also becoming more selective in its admission process. By only admitting the brightest minds, we’re becoming a school to be reckoned with, not just a safety choice for those who didn’t get into their top-choice college.

While it’s easy to focus on the great things that the University has going for it, I also know that we don’t live in a bubble.

The University has come under recent scrutiny because of former Athletics Director Norwood Teague and his alleged sexual harassment. A year ago, we also had to deal with how our administration was spending money, such as high executive pay. The University will also continue to face issues such as where to find good professors and how to make off-campus housing more affordable.

As a student, those challenges are concerning. But I believe the University community can overcome them and become stronger than ever.

I apologize for the cheesiness, but I’ve got a feeling this is going to be a great year for the University.