Think of any college movie you’ve ever seen. Buying into the classic collegiate stereotypes, the protagonists probably get drunk at a big football game, cheer for their mascot at the track meet or attend an underground a capella battle. Before stepping on campus, most future Amherst students probably imagined they would frequently support their classmates, neighbors and close friends at events, performances or sports games. They most likely imagined they’d spend their weekends wrapping themselves in purple apparel and screaming “Go Amherst!” until their voices turned hoarse. Yet, the reality has created a much less supportive and more isolated community as the Amherst rallying cheer has quickly become “I can’t today, I’m so busy.”
Amherst student dedication is a double-edged sword: We’re individually dedicated to our own sports, clubs and studies but we lose the ability to support the passions and talents of others on campus. We challenge ourselves academically, taking difficult classes and tackling wide-ranging disciplines outside of our comfort zones. We spend countless hours on our own extracurricular activities, whether by putting together intellectually engaging events or working to improve our athletic abilities. While juggling all these commitments, it’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that there’s no time left to support our peers.
But while we invest deeply in all that we care about personally, we miss the games, concerts and club events that generate collective campus spirit. Let’s talk about sports. Regardless of your opinion on the role of athletics vs. academics or the mysterious athlete/non-athlete divide, athletes spend multiple hours a day in practice for their games to represent Amherst on the field. The least that the larger student body can do is represent our school on the stands. Frankly, going to the games is just plain fun and a great way to de-stress with friends. Just the act of showing up means the world to friends who have worked long hours to perform at an exceptional level.
The problem of poor attendance is not exclusive to sports, however. We all live on budgeted time. But choral society, WAMH concerts and various other performance groups on campus deserve our support. The Peer Advocates, SHEs and To Write Love on Her Arms organize incredibly transformative and informative dialogues on student life and campus climate, but these events chronically receive low attendance. Clubs as wide-ranging as the Anime Club to the Juggling Club exist on this campus. Being at Amherst presents students with the unique opportunity to be a part of communities and cultures beyond anything available outside of the campus on the hill. It’s time we took advantage of them.