New initiatives to boost school spirit

Student Senate candidates have run their campaigns on it. Empty seats at games may be explained by it. The 2012 – 2017 Bradley University Strategic Plan even devoted time to it.

It’s school spirit, or the lack thereof, and various Bradley departments are working to change that.

“Traditions and school spirit have been identified by our students as something that needs attention and is sometimes lacking on campus,” Interim Vice President for Student Affairs Nathan Thomas said. “We are taking an active look at ways that can enhance the student experience and raise pride in both our current students and alumni.”

Thomas said that establishing traditions may come through time and key events on campus, such as the Lighting of the “B” during homecoming. Others will be more informal in nature, such as not walking on Bradley’s seal in front of the Alumni Center.

One initiative Bradley is actively promoting is the Rise of the Red campaign, which is coordinated between the athletics department, the bookstore and Student Senate.

“The Rise of the Red campaign is focused on building pride at Bradley, in part, by encouraging and rewarding students for wearing red or Bradley apparel on Fridays,” Director of Student Activities Tom Coy said.

On Sept. 6, Student Senate members passed out 25 percent off coupons for the bookstore as a reward for those who wore red or Bradley apparel.

Another effort to increase spirit through clothing is through red Bradley hoodies, which all freshmen received this school year.

While increasing school spirit in the past may have relied on hosting formal events, handing out promotional material and chatting face-to-face, social media has become an increasingly important medium to increase school spirit.

Social Media and Web Marketing Coordinator J.D. Dalfonso explained that there are four major Twitter hashtags Bradley is promoting: #Bradley2017, #Bradleytraditions, #RISEoftheRed and #BradleyU. Dalfonso said that Bradley is seeking to “push the efforts of social media” through more conversational and visual social media content.

School spirit and campus traditions take time to develop, Thomas said, but he noted that more spirit related surprises for the coming year may help.