Hey, WU: Sign up for the women’s soccer fan bus

At Division I schools, intercollegiate athletics serve as a central rallying point for students. Sports junkies and students who came into college ambivalent to collegiate athletics fill stadiums to cheer for their university. Sports bring very different people closer together and make them proud to attend the same institution.

At Washington University, there is no central rally point. Students identify with their own small groups, not with the school as a whole. Wash. U. is a Division III school, but our sports teams are perennial favorites to contend for national titles, and students should seize any opportunity to cheer their school to a national championship.

On Friday, the women’s soccer team, which is ranked 17th in the nation, will face Lynchburg College in the Final Four of the 2009 NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer National Championship in San Antonio, Texas. The University plans to sponsor a fan experience at the championship, complete with complementary transportation, hotel rooms and tickets. However, the University needs at least 30 students to make this unique experience a reality, and at press time it had seven. We feel that it would be a disgrace to this institution if the trip were cancelled due to student apathy.

There are hundreds of other things going on at Wash. U. this weekend, from improv shows to a-capella concerts to research symposiums. Intense student involvement is a remarkable advantage of our campus, but this weekend’s vibrance is a symptom of severe over-programming—a concept that has been talked about often among student groups and within Student Union over the past few months.

In our opinion, such over-programming symbolizes an attitude on the part of Wash. U. students: We often want to create, initiate and lead events, but rarely want to attend or support them. This is a symptom of attending an elite institution that prioritizes leadership, innovation and uniqueness in its applicants, where values such as camaraderie, solidarity and loyalty are often overlooked. The Final Four this weekend in San Antonio is an ideal opportunity to break out of a mindset that often tends toward divisiveness.

In other words, the opportunity to gather so many distinct Wash. U. students together under one cause, outside the bubble—to unify the student body in support of a group of hardworking fellow Wash. U. students—is vastly unique. The soccer team is giving up their weekend and has given up countless hours in the past season. The free bus tour presents an opportunity to come together in recognition of their efforts and to sacrifice in a minor way.

This weekend, don’t play it safe. Sure, you have exams next week. Sure, there are a couple of parties you were thinking about going to. But will you actually be studying for exams all weekend? Are you really that excited about whatever is going on Friday and Saturday night?

The point is that we all become very absorbed in our lives on campus, especially as the semester winds down and reading week and exams close in. This weekend is an opportunity to make some small personal sacrifices in support of some of your fellow students and for the school to come together under a common banner.

The school is taking care of everything. All you need to do is go to ResLife, give a refundable $40 deposit, and fill out some forms by noon today.

Regardless of the result, with the women’s team making their second appearance in the Final Four in school history, this is a once in a lifetime opportunity. Stop playing it safe and think about a road trip.

This “spur of the moment” decision, unlike your usual studying and partying, will result in moments that you’ll remember over the coming years. Consider making it.

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