Students express mixed feelings when it comes to sports and school spirit


UNCA Athletics/Seth Maile

A few Bulldog fans bark as the team plays on.

Jared Feinberg, Sports Writer, [email protected]

Students at UNC Asheville shared their opinions when discussing school spirit, supporting student-athletes on campus and athletic events.

In a poll conducted on The Blue Banner Instagram account, students were asked about their thoughts on topics such as school spirit and how to improve it. “Lacking,” said one response. “It feels pretty nonexistent,” said another. “We need more social events on campus,” said a student in response to how to improve school spirit on campus.

Other students offered their own insight on what they think about school spirit.

“I think after the first week of school, the spirit dies down and might come back around March Madness. Other than that you do not see a lot of people representing school or going to games,” said Felipe Ahumada, a student studying economics.

Brighton Coker, a student studying health and wellness, said he’s visited schools that have plenty of school spirit while others have very little. He explained the atmosphere at UNCA as a mix of both.

“I know some people with a reasonable degree of pride and school spirit. However, I also see people who constantly grip and complain about UNCA,” said Coker.

Although he said he hasn’t been to any sporting event, Hunter Grigg, a student studying German, said school pride is alive and well. 

“School spirit seems pretty vibrant at UNCA. There’s a definite culture around it being the liberal arts flagship university of North Carolina,” said Grigg. 

When it comes to how UNCA can improve school spirit and pride, Coker said the school needs to change the sports team’s image toward a better light. 

“We need to find a way to promote athletes in a positive light, like what other NCAA colleges do,” Croker said.

Grigg said UNCA could benefit from being more sports-focused in the coming years. 

“School spirit is strong in general, but as it pertains to sports, an encouragement of and aiming for a more sports-centric or sports-focused student body in the future could be warranted,” said Grigg.

Grigg also explained that much of the school spirit comes from the bulk of the student body. 

“UNCA’s school spirit comes from its diversity of the student body and the broad range of subjects covered in academics. People are drawn to the school for that reason in a big way,” Grigg said.

Coker encouraged more publicity by local media around sporting events, which could help bring more fans and students out for games. 

“Another way UNCA could improve its school spirit is by promoting their games more. I feel like it is so difficult to learn about the sports teams, schedules and records,” said Coker.

Ahumada provided similar ideas to Coker when it comes to advertising sporting events on campus. 

“More banners and publicity never hurts. We are all busy and it never hurts to be reminded about a game or event that can help the student body take time off school work and engage with the UNCA community,” Ahumada said.  

Ahumada said they believe more activities on the quad and games that students could participate in would help promote school spirit, including a trivia night for students who live on campus.

When attending a women’s soccer game, Coker said there were more student-athletes than regular students who were in attendance. 

“I don’t think that we do a good job supporting our athletes. I just think this lack of support is because of the low cultural perception of student-athletes by non-student athletes,” Coker said.

From his perspective, Ahumada said athletics on campus need more representation and that a good portion of school spirit on campus comes from his email inbox. 

“Most of the school spirit seems to come from the emails we get or the occasional banner on a bulletin board. I feel like school athletics need more representation, most students do not know all of the sports we have on campus,” Ahumada said. 

When it came to sporting events on campus, Coker said he feels underwhelmed, explaining that change is needed especially after his experience at the women’s soccer match. 

“I think sporting events at UNCA need some serious changes. There is no draw-in and entertainment value besides the actual sports games themselves at UNCA sporting events,” said Coker.