Poor Attendance and Spirit at Campus Events: Is it Instagram’s Fault?

By Giovanna Brasolin

I don’t know about you, but although I’ve been attending The University of Tampa since Fall 2017, I haven’t strongly felt the student spirit of my alma mater in a while. I love the university and feel way more affiliated with UT than Fudan University in Shanghai, China, where I studied abroad in Fall 2019. However, I have witnessed University of South Florida students being way more proud of being Bulls than any UT students are to be Spartans. 

One reason UT experiences a lack of student involvement is it’s hard to know about events happening on campus. In the past, I had the impression that we were more aware of the events going on and maybe that’s because some of them seem to be more geared towards the freshman and sophomore classes, not upperclassmen. However, there are still some bulletin boards with event flyers around the university and global student engagement emails are sent out every Monday morning. However, the problem is that one of two things tend to happen. Either only a few people check those boards or read through the entire email or both don’t include a list of all the events for that week or upcoming weeks. 

There are two ways of knowing about events ahead of time nowadays, but they require you to either go to some of the events the clubs you’re interested in are hosting or follow them on Instagram. A few weeks ago, I went to Energii Fest and saw many flyers about upcoming events for all of the clubs tabling there. On the one hand, I loved the idea because it was easy to be informed of what would be happening throughout the rest of the semester. On the other hand, I don’t entirely like the shift to only marketing events on Instagram. Call me old-fashioned, but doing so is not as helpful as the student organizations might think. 

We would all have to be willing to follow a bunch of different accounts on Instagram, and maybe I’m not willing to do so. But as someone who always strives to see the big picture, I understand how this can be more practical and environmentally friendly. The only thing is that it’s not as accessible as it used to be. And most often than not, I stumble upon different events while they’re happening when I would rather know about them ahead of time so I can plan to go with enough time to fully enjoy them. 

But that’s not all I’ve noticed that makes me concerned. Over my years at UT, I have noticed that a lot of students don’t seem as excited about the on-campus events as before. For example, it had been years since we had Midnight Madness due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and even though it was super hyped up and well-marketed, I heard many students’ disappointment as we filed out of the Bob Martinez Athletic Center. To me, it was okay considering I had already experienced it in 2017 and 2018. However, it wasn’t the only event in which I have felt people’s disappointment this semester and I’ve been wondering why ever since.

 It’s not necessarily that students aren’t going to events, but it seems that they just don’t make the most of them. Since the clubs spend so much time putting them together, that shouldn’t be happening. In fact, what should be a fun and de-stressing part of college life seems to not be working. That’s not to say that there aren’t great events going on both on and off campus. But somehow the student organizations should try to get the Spartan spirit back as it’s been lost for too long and that’s a big part of feeling affiliated with a university. 

I might not know what could turn this lack of engagement and excitement about campus activities around, but I hope it’s solved soon as everybody should be proud to be at their alma mater. Why not embrace UT’s motto “to be, rather than to seem” and be a proud spartan from now on?

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