Epps Starts Committee To Revive Enthusiam

Seeks to Recharge Old College Spirit

In 1936, Harvard students knew how to show their school pride.

That year, in celebration of the college's 300th anniversary, the band led a legendary papier mache statue of John Harvard on a barge up the Charles River--and continued with the statue across the Anderson Bridge and up JFK Street.

The parade came to a halt at last in Harvard Yard, where a mammoth bonfire lay in wait.

This out-of-the-ordinary event characterized the spirited student body of yesteryear, according to Dean of Students Archie C. Epps III.

The dean said the University even had a mascot at one time, a "Puritan" who ran around the stands during football games in the Soldiers' Field stadium.


But that College spunk is nowhere to be found on campus--and now Epps wants to see a revival of many of the "old traditions" that unified the students in previous years, as well as he introduction of new ideas that will do the same.

"A college experience needs to be morecoherent," said Epps in an interview with TheCrimson last week.

Toward that end, the dean has formed aseven-member "school spirit committee of Harvardofficials, including Athletic Director William J.Cleary Jr. and Harvard University Band DirectorThomas G. Everett.

Epps said the group will meet for the firsttime Thursday morning to "brainstorm for ideas andmeasure how we compare to other schools," He addedthat students will be welcome on the committee.

In an era when even the top academicinstitutions boast student bodies that rallyaround their athletic teams-Duke and StanfordUniversities come to mind-few Harvard studentstoday are heard bursting out in song with "10,000Men of Harvard."

Attendance at sporting events, includingfootball games, has dropped in recent years, Eppssaid.

"We need to work against the culture ofunderstatement that exists at Harvard, where it'snot normal to express your emotion and support forthe College," he said.

Aside from some hockey games, Harvard "spirit"has been relegated to cheering at the footballfinale against Yale. But even then students oftenlimit their demonstration of school spirit tochanting "Yale sucks."

Eric M. Chavez '93, co-captain of Harvard'scheerleading squad, said he senses a lack ofcamaraderie among the students as a whole.

"When I'm on the football field, I see the lowattendance and there isn't much spirit from thosewho are there," Chavez said. "There seems to be anoverall lack of enthusiasm on campus, although Ithink the students could show more if given theright circumstances."

"Right now, there is definitely more housespirit, than school spirit," he said.

One solution to that dearth of school-widespirit, Epps said, is to create a social facilityfor all students. Such a place may be constructedif and when planned renovations in Memorial Halloccur.

Currently there is no place for students tomeet new people from around the College, the deanargued.

Epps' would also like to divert some studentsocializing from the houses to a broaderCollege-wide setting. Epps advocates the formationof class councils to organize social events forthe individual classes. He said these groups wouldnot interfere with the Undergraduate Council'sresponsibilities.

"Hopefully, we would have class events,encouraging folks to take the lead in theirclasses and promote social activity," Epps said.

Undergraduate Council Chair David A. Aronberg'93 said he "would like to hear suggestions fromthe committee" regarding class councils. But hesaid he believes the council's social committee is"doing a decent job in giving semblance of asocial life.