Letter: Show NU spirit, even if not with ‘Bananapalooza’

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I discovered Wednesday a letter to the editor I had written last year was re-printed (“Northwestern needs a ‘Bananapalooza,’ ” Feb. 23, 2009). For those who might need a refresher, I jokingly advocated Northwestern host a campus-wide event called “Bananapalooza,” in which students would come together and throw bananas at one another in a Dillo Day-style celebration. While in part this letter was intended to be a pseudo-satire on the oNe Northwestern initiative, seeing it in print nearly a year later got me thinking once more about the issue of unity on campus and how we always talk about ourselves as a “divided” student body.

I know it truly is a tired topic of conversation, but recent events on campus have provided me with a new way of looking at the issue. So this year I’d like to propose a more realistic suggestion that we all think of ourselves as Northwestern students, not for the fruit that we throw at one another (although I’d still encourage Schapiro to seriously look into Bananapalooza), but rather, for our strong and rising athletic programs.

As a Northwestern cheerleader, I’ve had the opportunity to stand on the sidelines and witness firsthand the excitement and energy of the student section at sporting events. Most recently, our 33-31 victory against Wisconsin at Ryan Field comes to mind, with Wildcat fans chanting and yelling louder than ever before. More significant than the win itself was the sea of purple that rushed out of the student section and onto the field immediately after the close of the game.

Our explosive and united celebration proves perhaps these so-called divisions can take a backseat to a larger connection we might find at this University in our sports teams. The fact of the matter is our women’s lacrosse team has won five consecutive NCAA Championships, and for the first time since Coach Fitz was playing for the Cats, we have achieved back-to-back bowl games. We have a lot to be proud of, and we ought to celebrate together. So if you find yourself with some spare time between classes, grab a couple of friends, hop on a shuttle and catch a basketball game, or if you’re feeling adventurous, try a wrestling or fencing tournament. Who knows? By going to games and supporting your fellow students, you may just find yourself feeling a little more connected to the Northwestern community. – Austin PateSESP juniorMember, NU Cheer