Students, administration hope new class brings new spirit , traditions
Traditions at the University of Houston - Victoria have been, well, lacking to say the least.
"We want them to feel like their coming into something," said Lindsey Koch, UHV director of student life and services, referring to incoming freshmen. "But, the reality is there's not that much student life that's going on."
UHV has no cheerleaders, chants, songs or any real traditions. In 2007 the school changed its colors to promote a sense of school spirit and last year added JaX, the jaguar mascot whose bronze likeness watches over students calmly from the center of campus.
But school spirit, UHV officials say, will be up to the new students.
"We want them to let us know the things that they're excited about - the things that they're interested in," Koch said.
New students see the lack of traditions and spirit as a chance to leave their mark and shape the school's identity.
"If it's there, it's there. If it's not I'll have my own school spirit within myself," said Marissa Almanzan, 19, a freshmen from Richmond. Being a part of the freshmen class is something Almanzan believes is historic.
"Having history like that happen has never been a part of my life," she said.
School administrators have been hesitant to establish many programs or events before the freshmen arrive because they want input from the new students.
Some ideas include an annual barbecue, dance and movie nights.
"We want to leave room for students to know that they're going to have a hand in creating traditions that will be here at UHV," Koch said.
Koch has worked with upperclass student leaders to plan activities for the freshmen.
"We're trying to get them to come up with their own organizations so we can have a lot more going on at UHV," said Paige Ruschhaupt, president of the student senate.
Ruschhaupt believes student groups like the student senate can help bridge the gap between upperclassmen, who are older - typically non-traditional college students - and the freshmen.
"I think it'll definitely bridge the gap," she said. "It's going to be interesting how the dynamics change."