As a member of the Class Officer Collective (COC), I realize there are some people on campus who are still unaware of what exactly our organization does. Many people associate COC with the class-specific programs we hold, or the large campus traditions like Hudson Relays that we coordinate.
While these class events and traditions constitute a vital part of our mission, we feel that we have an opportunity to extend this vision and have a larger impact on the campus as a whole. In the past, we have strived to fulfill two specific parts of our mission statement—“recognize and celebrate our classmates” and “enhance school spirit and pride”—and it is in these areas that we feel we can effect the most change at Case Western Reserve University.
I only bring up the discussions we have held within our organization because I believe they can serve as a jumping off point for a larger, campuswide conversation about how we can improve a sense of community among CWRU students. However, I do not want the main focus of this letter to be on COC, because we are just one of almost 200 other student groups on campus. Although our mission statements may differ, all organizations can play a role in reaching these two goals.
This Saturday Oct. 11, marks the beginning of Homecoming Week on CWRU’s campus, and with it the start of a competition among the classes. At various events throughout the week, we will be calculating attendance by class, and the class that has the highest percentage of participation at the end of the week will be rewarded with a celebration open to all members of that class. While this is a competition, it is not meant to inspire any feelings of hostility among students. Instead, it is intended to make our classmates more cognizant of the different opportunities available to them throughout the week and provide added incentive to take advantage of these events. Ultimately, we hope that by inspiring increased attendance we will only make the campus community stronger and show support for the numerous student organizations participating throughout the week.
Yet the events occurring during Homecoming Week are just a small representation of the programs held year-round by our dozens of student groups. COC, and the rest of the organizations represented on this year’s Homecoming committee, have chosen to put so much emphasis on the upcoming week’s events because we firmly believe it can act as a catalyst to inspire an outpouring of CWRU spirit and pride.
It’s common knowledge that we attend an impressive university—CWRU is a highly ranked research institution, one that is lucky enough to be home to some of the most intelligent and creative students from around the world. However, our reasons for pride extend far beyond our academic achievements, which is an idea that can get lost amidst the chaos of organic chemistry tests and physics lab reports.
In addition to their scholarly accomplishments, the vast majority of students on this campus are also involved in leadership organizations, Greek chapters, performance groups, cultural clubs and sports teams. We dedicate hours every week to these groups not just for our own personal gain, but because we are passionate about them and feel that we are providing valuable resources and giving back to the CWRU community.
Oftentimes it is easy to perceive the programs put on by these organizations, from ethnic dinners to basketball games, as distractions from our academic priorities. Instead, we should view these events as opportunities to support our friends, our Greek brothers and sisters, our Orientation Leaders and the people we sit next to in class every day. While one interpretation of having school spirit is being proud of the institution as a whole, I believe it is much more important, and more tangible, to view spirit in the context of caring about the people who attend CWRU. Only when we begin to realize and appreciate the impact we all have on this campus can a better sense of school pride be created.
College is not just about the grades we receive—it is also about the lasting connections we make with our peers. As a member of COC, I know that we want to play a role in facilitating these relationships and ideally developing our CWRU pride in the process. Yet this is not an aspiration that we can achieve on our own—we need the participation of all students in order for this goal to be realized. Homecoming Week is just the beginning of what is hopefully a much larger progression toward building a sense of community on campus, and I am confident that this development will only make our years at CWRU more fun, engaging and memorable.
President of the Class of 2016 for the Class Officer Collective