Edit desk: Showing support

Danielle Bettermann

Danielle Bettermann

Something that Lehigh students hear constantly year after year is how we, as a student body, have very little school spirit when it comes to supporting our sport teams. It is uncommon for most sporting events to draw a large student section to cheer them on during matches, and this is often questioned by so many in the Lehigh community.

My question, however, differs from most. Why do those talented on a field or a court deserve more support than those talented in different ways, such as through the arts?

The students involved in the arts at Lehigh don’t get to advance in a playoff tournament. They don’t have the opportunity to win the championship games, and then feel the overwhelming pride from the campus congratulating them when they return home.

They devote so much time all year to what they love to do for little reward, and I think that it’s time we start rewarding them through our support.

Students in the arts work so hard for multiple weeks or months, and when they finally have the opportunity to show off what they accomplished, an underwhelming number of support comes to appreciate their art. Few people come to the shows put on by the theater and music departments, or take time out their day to examine the art exhibits in the galleries around campus.

This year, the theater department is putting on four shows: “God of Carnage,” “Violet,” “Boom” and “Gem of the Ocean.” The music department is putting on several shows to showcase its talent, including multiple shows for the LU Choral Arts, LU Choir, LU Wind Ensemble, LU Jazz Ensemble and LU Philharmonic. Even the faculty members get the chance to show off their talent in their own musical shows.

Multiple art galleries are placed around campus, but few students actually spend their time viewing the exhibits unless they have a professor that is forcing them to do so. Currently, there are galleries with art celebrating Lehigh’s sesquicentennial year in both the upper gallery at Zoellner and in Rauch. There is also an exhibit called “…Of the Americas” in Zoellner’s lower gallery, which show contemporary Latin American art.

If all of these events are so available, and free, for students to attend, why is it so uncommon for them to draw a larger amount of students?

All of this is not due to a lack of talent from the performers and artists, but rather the lack of “school spirit” that so many complain about when the crowds are small at sporting events.

Just like the football or basketball players need support from the student body, so do those who are standing on a stage acting or displaying their art so willingly.

Of course, these events might not be everyone’s favorite thing to attend, just like sporting events, and it is not worth forcing yourself to attend just for the sake of improving the school spirit. But I’m certain that there is a large portion of people who would enjoy these events or exhibits if they would only take the time out of their day to attend them.

For Lehigh students so intent on still keeping up their social life after a long day filled with schoolwork, their initial reaction might be to grab a drink and go to one of the many parties held for a night of fun.

Doesn’t it sound nice, though, to sometimes relax at a show and listen to good music or be entertained during a play? There are parties almost every night of the year, and although FOMO (fear of missing out) is a very real thing, odds are that there won’t be very much to miss if you spend one night supporting a friend at their event rather than in a sweaty frat basement.

Just because you go to a top party school or a D1 sports school does not mean that you need to invest all your extra time and energy into those two things. The arts deserve the attention of the student body. They should be able to expand outside the doors of Zoellner Arts Center and be appreciated all around campus through their art, architecture, design and more.

Attend an event that one of your friends is involved in. Maybe get involved yourself. Step out of your comfort zone and experience something that you never have before. You might realize how passionate you are for the arts, something that you never recognized in yourself before.

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1 Comment

  1. Heather Simoneau on

    Opinion pieces like this one are a great first step for the B&W to increase its support the arts at Lehigh. However, there are some additional steps that could be taken to support the arts such as creating the position of Arts Editor. There is an editor devoted to sports and an editor devoted to news. I would argue that there should be one for the arts as well, and that lifestyle isn’t quite the same thing as the arts. Reviews of the Theatre department’s and the Music department’s productions could be a part of the Arts Editor’s regular beat. Students might be more inclined to go to a play if they’ve read a review of the production in the B&W.

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