By Lee Richardson
As frosh activities wind down, Ryerson is heavily promoting its new athletic centre to maintain school spirit. Though a gym and sports arena may not be enough to prevent student apathy.
That apathy can be hard to avoid. After the RSU and other student groups make their presence known, the thriving bustle of campus dies off. Gould Street, having been showcased as Ryerson’s red carpet, begins to resemble a moving walkway commonly found in airports — it’s a novelty at first but it’s uncomfortable to spend a significant amount of time on it.
The struggle to maintain that bustle — or school spirit — throughout the academic year is something many universities experience. In countries where students don’t have to complain, such as those not in the middle of a recession, involvement in student politics is decreasing, for reasons this allotted word count can’t express. Ryerson, however, is especially unlucky as it’s a commuter-centric campus with no visual boundaries, à la York or, to an extent, U of T.
This is a problem Ryerson has dealt with for a while, as it’s difficult to keep students on campus long enough to attract them to being involved in campus affairs.
The new Mattamy Athletic Centre (at the Gardens, to give it it’s official title) means to change that. While drawing attention because of its historical significance, the MAC’S opening aims to boost the university’s reputation. By offering services like free skate time — open to students and members of the public — those who wouldn’t normally have a reason to set foot on campus now may. Overall, the ideal end result is students proud to be a part of the Ryerson community.
But does school spirit even matter? While debate surrounds the question the consensus seems to say that spirit doesn’t seem to hurt. Content students and faculty attract new students and faculty, eventually driving up the value of a Ryerson education. In theory, everyone benefits.
However that won’t happen by simply opening the doors to a new sporting arena, though that move doesn’t seem to hurt. Ryerson is at an interesting period in terms of its own reputation, and the university is doing its part.
If students do their part and start to match the university’s drive, maybe Gould Street could end up as more than just a route from A to B.