Students at UCSD gathered in RIMAC Arena this past Friday to support the women’s and men’s basketball games against Cal State Dominguez Hills and to celebrate UCSD’s annual Spirit Night. The men’s team saw a record-high attendance at its game, and Eleanor Roosevelt College was awarded the Cup of Cheer for the first time since 2013.
On the Spirit Night Scoreboard, Roosevelt’s winning of the Cup of Cheer was a clear takeaway with a score of 28 points, Sixth College following with 23 points. As in recent years, the score was based off of five criteria: college decorating throughout the week, college banner, Triton Sidekick, halftime contest and Spirit Night attendance. Roosevelt led the categories of college decorating and attendance and tied with Revelle College for college banners.
Sophomore ERC Student Council Member Alison Wong told the UCSD Guardian that planning for Spirit Night is a demanding yet rewarding experience and one of the few distinct times UCSD students show their school spirit.
“We were determined to blow people’s minds with our hard work, creativity and teamwork,” Wong said. “Within the past three-day weekend, we put over 25 hours into decorating Cafe Ventanas, the [ERC] banner, and our sidekick with an added bonus of a fun tailgate. Student spirit on campus is usually very quiet, but during Spirit Week it is definitely amped up, especially during the game it is very apparent that UCSD students have spirit in their hearts and come together as one because we are very competitive.”
Events like Spirit Night require the leadership of motivated and committed college student councils, according to Wong. She believes support can manifest itself in multiple ways beyond sports, including classes and student organizations.
“I think that student attendance is lower in some years than others depending on each college student council that helps spearhead the intensity and dedication that goes into Spirit Week,” Wong told the Guardian. “Most people would regard the college council as a group of student leaders, and if you don’t have a strong council, then encouragement for student spirit and attendance to games will be lacking. What we can do is try to support our team sports by being a team of students in every aspect — academics, athletics and campus involvement. We can also elect great candidates for student council to ensure active participation throughout UCSD’s events.”
Revelle College fared the poorest at Spirit Night with 17 points, just behind Marshall College with 17.5 points and Warren College with 18 points. Though Warren took first place in the Triton Sidekick category and tied with Marshall for the halftime challenge of basketball musical chairs, the college had the lowest attendance, representing the least amount of UCSD students.
According to sophomore and Leader of Commission of Warren College Spirit Farhan Hussain, the low attendance by Warren students at Spirit Night was part of what he considers the spontaneous school spirit at UCSD.
“I feel like the school spirit naturally ebbs and flows, and that corresponds to this year’s Spirit Night attendance,” Hussain said to the Guardian. “My goal is to consistently provide Warren students, including myself, with fun experiences so that more people will want to come out and show Warren pride!”
The men’s team defeated Dominguez Hills 74–51 before its largest audience in history of 3,924 fans as UCSD has not had a comparable number of attendees since 2008 with 3,906 fans. However, the women’s basketball team lost 82–89 to Dominguez Hills with 1,674 fans supporting. Friday’s games placed the men’s team at a tie with Chico State for first place in the California Collegiate Athletic Association at 9–2 and 14–3 overall and the women’s team is tied in second with Cal State East Bay and Stanislaus State also at 9–2 and 14–3 overall.
In regard to UCSD sports, A.S. President Dominick Suvonnasupa recently announced that A.S. Council will move to vote the university into Division I of the NCAA, and students like Wong believe a vote in favor of the change may help bolster athletics which she believes are undervalued.
“I definitely believe that moving to Division I sports will help facilitate greater attendance during games and events such as Spirit Night,” Wong said. “I think that sports are underrepresented here at UCSD so students do not necessarily have pride in their school sports teams. We all care about our school, but we need something to happen for us to bring out our inner pride. I think something great could happen if we earn a spot in Division I sports.”