Traditions Must Be Spontaneous

Think quick. Name five traditions exclusive to Georgia State.

Can you?

If you’re having some difficulty, you’re not alone, either.

At a recent excursion of leaders from Spotlight, Campus Events, Lead Team and The Signal last weekend, no one could pick out more than two or three “traditions,” tenuous uses of the term at best.

And no one could quite agree with how to create lasting traditions, either.

Because if you talked to the people in Campus Events or Spotlight, some would tell you that all they need to do is better promote their events. Yet others might tell you that you need to get more students involved in the planning stages.

Those in student media might vary a little bit and say that the best way to drive the creation of traditions would be to report on them as they grow – perhaps even throwing an organization’s unique spin on them, as well.

All of these things may be necessary, but they miss the point.

Real traditions come naturally from the fans. And, most importantly, real traditions are spontaneous.

This is especially true when it comes to sports.

For example, Huntersville is a great example of how some awesome fans put together something that got people in the media and on campus talking and fired up about our program.

Everyone from The Signal to PantherTalk to the AJC reported on it. And everyone else wanted to be apart of it – or at least support the idea.

Inspired by the fervor of Duke’s Krzyzewskiville, a tradition of Duke’s student body where hundreds of students camp out prior to each men’s basketball game, super-fan Nick Bray and several others spent the night outside Georgia State’s Sports Arena for weeks.

To develop real traditions that last, Georgia State needs more fans like Nick Bray and less casual fans. And we need a reason to get fired up.

Because Huntersville only happened with Coach Hunter’s strong leadership and a committed group of men that proved the fans will come out to games and rally behind a team if given a reason to.

At no other point in the school’s history have we had so much attention riding on our future.

And with the announcement of our joining the Sunbelt Conference and the school’s release of its athletic master plan last week, the school has shown that it’s committed to investing the resources necessary for building its sports programs and developing a solid following of them.

But it’s a misnomer to conclude that students and alumni will only support their team in fair weather, especially when you consider the school’s largely non-traditional student body.

Far too many of our students, it seems, are content with merely coming to class two or three days a week and leaving for home or work immediately after.

So the challenge is finding a way to get these students to become interested enough to prioritize their affairs so that they can have the opportunity to support their school.

Because until non-traditional students and alumni prioritize being able to represent their university in person, on the field and beside the court, it’s going to be slow going.

And that will change – but only at an incremental pace. And hopefully with a few traditions kicked in there along the way, too.


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This is the personal page of Chris Shattuck -- an Atlanta-based media professional with a background in business reporting, nonprofits and agency PR.

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