One of the main goals of the 2017-2018 Andrews University Student Association (AUSA) is to increase school spirit and encourage engagement on the Andrews University Campus. AUSA has been very intentional about planning events to that end. Some may recall fondly the competition and school spirit characteristic of Almost Anything Goes. While AU has provided several opportunities for students to participate in sports and competition, the campus community has never been part of a large-scale spirit week. In times past, specific clubs have hosted such an event. However, this year for the first time, AUSA planned a campus-wide spirit week and the impact has definitely been felt throughout the campus.
Jessica Stelfox (senior, psychology) said “I feel like [spirit week] is important because fostering spirit and excitement among the students is really important in order to unify us as a whole.”
Throughout the week, students have been spotted in attire corresponding to the chosen themes for each day. So far, the week has consisted of Christmas in September, World Culture/Tourist Day, Dynamic Duo, and Cardinal Apparel.
One of the most popular days thus far has been World Culture/Tourist Day, a new concept, but one that is most fitting for Andrews, now recognized as the number one university for ethnic diversity in the United States.
Jordanne Howell-Walton (senior, psychology), currently serving as Social Vice President of AUSA, shared that she hoped “this day (would) invoke curiosity and admiration for the many cultures represented on Andrews University’s campus.” Howell-Walton’s hopes seemed to ring true as this day impacted several students across campus.
Karl Arrogante (junior, chemical engineering) said it this way: “In the past, I struggled a lot with my identity, but I can always count on my culture to show me my roots and where I come from. I love my culture!”
While Cultural Day was a huge hit, students still have one last day to look forward to: Andrews University Apparel Day. This day, as well as Cardinals Apparel day, was chosen to help unify the campus. Earlier in the week, students were seen representing their culture and their background; but in a telling moment for a campus known for its diversity, the end of the week sees students unified. The themes for this year’s spirit week have done a wonderful job of celebrating the campus’s differences while also highlighting its similarities; the unmitigated success should encourage AUSA in future as they continue to celebrate diversity, recognize similarity and foster unity.