Small Schools, Big Spirit

by Cassandra Martinez

Beyond the Harvards and the MITs, many locals would be hard-pressed to name a fraction of the 80-plus colleges dotting the city and its suburbs, even if they pass the campuses routinely. These tiny private institutions enroll fewer students than most high schools. They have trouble filling the stands at home basketball games. And their students, upon naming their college, are frequently met by blank stares, followed by a skeptical “Where?’’

On September 19th, Tracy Jan, the reporter I am following as an assignment for my introduction to journalism class at Emerson College, published an article for the Boston Globe talking about the changes some of the smaller colleges in Boston are making to become more recognizable and spirited.

Coming from a relatively small campus such as Emerson I can say honestly that I totally relate to a lot of the points Jan is trying to make in her article about lack of school spirit and unity at smaller schools. When you don’t even have a football team to cheer for how do you expect a student population to band together?

According to Jan, these small college campuses around Boston are “fed up with their anonymity.” To try and reverse this, schools like Fisher College have created their own cheerleading squad after years of not being able to fill up at least one fan bus to a school football game.

While Fisher is creating new clubs to push school spirit other small campuses are rolling out the stops with new banners and backlit signs on their campuses to boost awareness that hey, they do exist.

Even the President of Lassel College which has a little over 700 students was a bit out of the loop with the campus he now oversees before coming to work for them.

“When I was recruited for the job, nobody knew who we were,’’ said Michael Alexander, who became president two years ago. “Most people would say, ‘Huh?’ including other college presidents. I drove by for 10 years and didn’t even know Lasell was here.’’

And these schools aren’t cheap. For example, a year at Fisher College would set you back around $40,000. Through new marketing techniques including the creation of a school mascot called Boomer, Fisher is fighting to make an education at their school worth the hefty tuition.

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