Tulanians’ lack of school pride stems from misguided administrative efforts

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Ashley Chen | Views Layout Editor

“Only at Tulane, Only in New Orleans.” It is an ever-present rallying cry that Tulane has used to tout its role in the city’s redevelopment after Katrina. It has allowed the university to have a unique, mutually beneficial relationship with the city. However, it has contributed to a crisis of identity for Tulane and its students.

It is this semi-symbiotic relationship that has brought Tulane awards such as “Best College City.” The university highlights it as though it has a role to play in this. In reality, New Orleans is the best college city in spite of Tulane.

We do not truly “blend-in” with the city in the sense that we bring anything to the table. If the city were a potluck, we would be bringing the napkins. No amount of crawfish can bury the fact that Tulane culture is, to a very large extent, just co-opted New Orleans culture that we have taken for our own.

Tulane chooses to put so much of its image behind the city, yet, in the same breath, the administration is shocked to see that same image created our “work hard, play hard” culture that the students lean even harder into, a party culture that comes naturally to a college campus and is magnified by its celebrated nature in the big-easy.

There are positives and negatives to this “work hard, play hard” culture, which stems from Tulane’s utter lack of uniqueness from the rest of the city. This spiritlessness comes to a head in regards to a lack of involvement in campus engagement such as football games and other opportunities to display school pride, while celebrating a nationwide acknowledgement as a top party school.

In the end, neither notion is enough to rally student spirit, and inaction has only furthered our decline as a unified community.

As it stands, Tulane lacks many strong, defining characteristics that do not feel co-opted from the city, with that, has continued to struggle in its attempts to develop a cohesive campus culture.

In an article discussing Tulane and its relationship with the city, President Mike Fitts stated that the futures of Tulane and New Orleans are linked. While, yes, the needs of the city must match the needs of the university, the school must stand on its own feet in regards to identity.

There isn’t a quick fix that will create campus spirit at Tulane, but both the administration and student body can take a big step: continue to recognize our New Orleans influence but begin to encourage a centralized vision for what Tulane culture and spirit will become.