Firing Squad: Everyone should know the alma mater

Firing Squad: Everyone should know the alma mater

Meredith Goodman, Columnist

I had an awesome time at Northwestern’s football game versus Maine on Saturday — the first home game I attended this season. Despite the few moments of terror when I realized we weren’t beating Maine by many possessions, I enjoyed being with my fellow students and cheering on the Cats. One incident during halftime, however, made me question the strength of NU’s traditions.

After the marching band performed its amazing medley of “Star Trek” and “Star Wars” melodies (shameless plug, I was in marching band freshman year), they proceeded to play the alma mater as tradition dictates. Yet people in the stands were talking, and it seemed like almost no one in the student section knew the words.

I’m really not trying to be a song snob here, but the alma mater literally takes a minute to memorize. And for a school with students that ace organic chemistry, the lyrics should be a cinch to learn. Here, you can peruse them and sing the tune in your head while you finish this firing squad:

Hail to Alma Mater!
 We will sing thy praise forever;


All thy sons and daughters


Pledge thee victory and honor.


Alma Mater, praise be thine,


May thy name forever shine!


Hail to Purple! Hail to White!


Hail to thee, Northwestern!

See, only 40 words! That wasn’t too hard, was it?

I heard current seniors and members of my own junior class complain that they were not taught the words to the school song during Wildcat Welcome. I remember my class being shown the lyrics on a projector during Convocation when we all sang along. But there was no going over the song line by line as there was with our fight song. Of course, actively learning the words to “Go U Northwestern!” as most people did during Wildcat Welcome is essential to the Wildcat experience, but I would argue that the alma mater should be considered equally important.

The team we are all looking forward to facing next week, the dreaded Ohio State Buckeyes, sings “Carmen Ohio” loudly and proudly after each game, with the entire stadium joining in. When you hear an entire stadium singing the school song, it gives you chills. I loved hearing “The Eyes of Texas” at University of Texas growing up, and it was amazing that everyone knew the words and sang along.

Our alma mater is gorgeous and deserves to be sung with full strength at every football game. I encourage current NU students and future freshmen to learn the words and sing to their heart’s content when it is played.

Meredith Goodman is a Weinberg junior. She can be reached at [email protected]. If you would like to respond publicly to this column, leave a comment or send a letter to the editor to [email protected].