In hopes of fostering a more unified campus community, Ithaca College launched its first IC Spirit Week last weekend.
Spirit Week, which kicked off with a pep rally Saturday, was established to unify the student body while giving back to the community by raising funds through several events. Funds raised from “Penny Wars,” a campus competition where each class will try to raise the most money in pennies through today, will be donated to a local charity.
Though Spirit Week is a new initiative, some of the week’s highlights are already traditions on campus, such as Mr. and Miss Ithaca and Habidash, a 5K charity run sponsored by IC Habitat for Humanity. Taste of Ithaca is another new event where students can sample food from local restaurants. The pep rally, banner competition and lounge window-painting were also created this year.
Junior Rachel Heiss, student chair of the Spirit Week Committee, said Spirit Week was created to address a lack of school pride and to establish a new tradition on campus.
“This is my third year in student government, and we’ve seen a constant issue that’s brought up on campus about a lack of spirit,” she said. “This is our initiative to tackle that issue.”
Heiss said Spirit Week developed from a conversation between her and Lynne Pierce, associate director of alumni relations, after Fall Splash last year. The two discussed how they both believed the campus did not have enough spirit, so they organized a committee to address the issue.
“What we wanted to do was create more spirit on campus, but also work with some traditions that already exist and bring more people to them,” Pierce said. “It was kind of like bringing old and new traditions together to make it bigger and better.”
The committee began putting together Spirit Week in January after it contacted other student organizations asking if they wanted to be involved with the planning process. Heiss said the committee reached out to these other clubs in hopes of fully integrating the student population.
“When you talk about school spirit, it’s not just athletics,” she said. “It’s supporting our student body and the organizations putting on events on campus.”
Heiss, who said she expected to see 250 students and alumni at the pep rally, said about 100 people attended. She said she remains optimistic about the week’s future on campus.
“We thought that was pretty good attendance for it being a brand new tradition and the events just starting to get kicked off,” Heiss said. “We were happy with it.”
Freshman Cassie DenDanto said she has already experienced the uplifting effect Spirit Week has had on campus.
“I could feel the spirit in the air,” she said. “I could hear the music from the fountains on my way over. It was very festive.”
The rest of the week’s schedule includes Taste of Ithaca from 8 to 10 p.m. Thursday and IC Spirit Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday, sponsored by Fuse Magazine. Habidash and the Fall Splash Picnic will conclude the week’s events Saturday.
Senior Kate Gibbons, co-chair of the Spirit Week Committee and vice president of Students Today, Alumni Tomorrow, an alumni association, said she was excited by the list of Spirit Week events because she saw it as an opportunity to cater to many students’ interests.
“I love school spirit,” she said. “I hope it’s a tradition that just gets hooked and people continue on with it.”