If you haven’t heard yet, Dr. Destler didn’t dye his hair orange at the halftime
of the men’s basketball game last Sunday. He didn’t even dye half. Not enough
people showed up to the game. While some blame televised post-season football
games as the reason for such low turnout (see “SG Update”), I’m not entirely convinced that this is was what was going on the afternoon of January 11.
Personally, I think RIT students are tired of the gimmicks. The thought of a temporarily
carrot-topped university president is somewhat amusing, but is it enough of a motivating
factor to get people off of their couches and onto the gym bleachers? Apparently
not — not even for a few hours. Never mind a consistent fanbase over the course of a
season. Likewise, the women’s sport event punch cards are a cute idea, but I’m just
not sure how often you can drag people out of their dorms with the promise of gift
baskets. Raffles are exciting, but so is sleep. These attempts at improving campus life
and raising school spirit are admirable, but the methods are somewhat misguided.
For example: As I write this, 21 administrators are participating in Student
Government’s Dorm Challenge. It’s a fascinating stunt, and I’m sure a lot of
interesting stories will come out of it — we’ll be covering them on our website. But
several months down the line, how meaningful will any of this be? Is this going
to have any long term impact on the way housing is handled? I’m skeptical.
Similarly, even if Dr. Destler did dye his hair, would the attendance at the
basketball games remain high for the rest of the season? If every student at RIT
went to two or three Spirit Week events, would any of that happiness with RIT
carry over into the following month? If every student wore orange and brown
next Friday, would school spirit be improved for even the following week?
The problem with gimmicks is that once the novelty wears off, you’re not left with
anything of substance underneath. Gimmicks can get people excited for a short while,
but the effects are not long lasting. (And no, the answer to this is not to run a long
string of gimmicks one after another. Student Government, I’m looking at you.)
Shoving scads of gimmicks down students’ throats doesn’t make the original dish
any more appetizing; if anything, it just induces gag reflexes. Instead of brainstorming
more gimmicks for the remainder of this quarter, perhaps our student leaders ought to
devote that energy to projects of longer lasting worth. For now, I’m all gimmicked out.
Editor in Chief