Student Spirit, 1921

Since last week’s post about the origin of the freshman beanie I’ve been thinking quite a bit about how to characterize the particular quality of those early Institute classes. I still haven’t committed to any particular language but I did go back and have another look at that 1921 R Book from which I’ve drawn a couple of posts.

There’s a section in it called “Student Spirit” that I think gets at what I’m talking about:

R Book 1921 Spirit046

It’s that idea of democracy and self-reliance that is so notable among these students. They felt free to build their own traditions and govern their own relations. It wasn’t that they were unsupervised by the adults on campus—trust me, if they violated rules real wrath would be unleashed by the administration–but that that they were allowed and then exercised a great deal of creative freedom as long as they stayed within the rather limited number of hard and fast rules. It gave them the sense of pride and ownership that is so easy to see in this excerpt. It stayed with them for their whole lives too. Anyway, I’m still thinking about it.

Bonus: Every time I see this window open I wait a minute to see if the Pope will come out.

IMG_2381

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4 Responses to Student Spirit, 1921

  1. Buddy Chuoke '75 says:

    Rice Student Body “support of the teams which represent it” has drastically changed over the years. I can’t help but think that a major factor is the changing demographic profile of the typical Rice student. Whereas the original Rice Institute charter specified that students enrolling would be made up of inhabitants of the city of Houston and the state of Texas – all exposed to and ingrained in high school with the religion in Texas called football – this began to change in the in the !960’s as the former Institute became a University. Rice now seems to want the best students it can find anywhere in the U.S. and beyond. I guessing a large percentage of the recent matriculates haven’t experienced the Friday Night Lights as students in Rice’s first half-century did. It’s been years since I have seen “a frantic mob of yelling, cheering, capering fellow students” at a Rice sporting event. Sad to think the “soul of Rice,” once known as school spirit, no longer exists.

  2. Melissa Kean says:

    That’s surely part of it. There’s been a lot of water under the bridge since 1921.

  3. Bill Peebles, '70 says:

    Well, every older generation thinks the new generation is going to hell in a handbasket. Today’s graduates will think the same thing in 50 years.

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