‘I think we have a lot of school spirit on this campus,’ said one of the organizers of Peter’s Parade before the beginning of the event. She spoke a little too soon.
In its inaugural run, the parade attracted considerable media coverage. Undoubtedly, the organizers believed that this expensive endeavor would showcase students’ immense amount of repressed school spirit. Instead, 15 out of the over 400 registered clubs on campus bothered to decorate floats. Only two Greek organizations partook in the parade, coinciding with the two awards available for them.
Ironically, the number of students who watched the parade paled in comparison to the number of participants. The majority of the mere 50 to 100 onlookers appeared to be faculty, community members and parents. Out of the over 27,000 students on campus, the few who were fortunate enough to stumble across the procession were utterly confused, and whispers of ‘What’s going on? Peter’s Parade? What’s that?’ were heard across Ring Mall.
The little-known Anteater Band hurriedly attempted to make amends, playing such tunes as ‘My Own Worst Enemy.’ Basketball uniform-clad, steroid-infused Peter the Anteater attempted to show the only spirit for miles around by jumping the participants and knocking down the decorations on their carts. Chancellor Michael Drake delivered the most spirited line of the day, saying that upon seeing the flashing lights of the squad car escorting the floats, he had half a mind to turn around and run in the opposite direction.
Such was the spectacle of the first annual Peter’s Parade, the year’s main school spirit-driven event. Why was it not as successful as predicted (or hoped) by the organizers? Does our school really lack spirit? Do we really put the ‘pathetic’ in ‘apathetic’? While some of the suggestions may be true, the blame falls primarily on the administration and its approach to the students.
There appears to be a disconnect between the events that the administration holds to enhance school spirit and the activities that actually interest the students. The administration’s events appear inclined toward pleasing community members, who usually play the judges or heads and make up most of the audience. You know there’s a problem when the loudest cheers at Peter’s Parade come from a tiny, middle-aged mother of five.
Advertising, or lack thereof, proved to be a hindrance to this event. The majority of the students were unaware of the reason why several bedecked golf carts blocked their way to class that day, and despite the relatively greater amount of advertising done for the parade in October, when it was originally meant to be held, many were still oblivious to what exactly Peter’s Parade was.
Although the administration could have utilized the available advertising opportunities better, advertising on campus is generally lacking compared to other campuses. The restrictions on the locations of posters, banners and flyers make it hard to communicate events effectively, contributing to the lack of spirit for which UC Irvine is famous.
Furthermore, the timing of the event was horrible. It’s hard to think about being spirited when you’re in the middle of midterms and entering the realm of finals. The postponement of the parade due to the October wildfires is understandable; the decision to plop it in the eighth week of winter quarter is not.
The next time the administration attempts to infuse some long-lost school spirit into the students by organizing another event, it will hopefully take this advice: advertise. Better publicity might make students more aware of the cause and attract a bigger audience out of sheer curiosity.
Additionally, bring a big-name artist. The Lupe Fiasco concert at last year’s Shocktoberfest, which attracted thousands of Anteaters, indicated the effectiveness of this advice. Because we have a park in the center of the school, locating the concert in this space would bring the campus together as opposed to discriminating against the biological sciences and engineering students by holding the event at the Student Center.
If all else fails, we could always change UC Irvine’s name to UC Newport Beach or UCOC. The attractive power of the two names would undoubtedly attract droves of students from other states hoping to lay eyes on glamorous, rich somebodies popularized in shows like ‘The OC.’ Now that’s what I call advertising.
Whatever strategy the administration selects, it is clear that the method from Peter’s Parade should never be used again. As if the lack of student participation was not enough, a swarm of bees blanketed the skies immediately following the commencement of the ceremony, as if it were a plague from God Himself upon the administration for committing such an atrocity.
As chaos ensued, the organizer who had wrongly anticipated the amount of spirit on campus quietly dismantled the decorations, a frown on her face. When asked how she felt at the conclusion of the event, she plastered on a bright, fake smile and said, ‘It went really well! The students had a good time and seemed really excited!’ Sigh. There is still much work to be done.
Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name, year and major.