Alexandria Zamora, BBA 2017
For those who know me, they know that bleeding blue and green is something very close to my heart. From the moment I stepped into the Schulich building at my own Summer BBQ in 2013, I was overwhelmed by the energy and spirit that my leaders exhibited. From then on, these cheers were stuck in my head for the next four years (as I am sure that it is stuck in many of yours). As froshies, we take these cheers for granted since they were just thrust upon us at Orientation Week. Entering my final year at Schulich, I wanted to take a step back and understand where these cheers came from, and what role they have in Schulich culture.
Every year in September, approximately 400 students enter the doors of Schulich as students for the first time. However, leading into that moment comes many months of careful planning. Every moment of Orientation Week is planned out to ensure that when those students walk into that door, they feel like they are a part of the family. These students pour over every single piece of information they have to feel prepared to enter this new community; this includes one of the most important documents of Orientation Week, the primer. This document’s purpose is to give students a sneak peek into what is in store for them, and these students are explicitly told to learn these cheers by heart so they can cheer right alongside the leaders during O-Week. These cheers are handed down from year to year without much change. The origin of many of these cheers are unknown and are just passed down to each graduating class. Every year, there is an attempt to add more to our list, but there are a few that have stood the test of time. The reason why these cheers stand the test of time is because it gives you a sense of belonging; a feeling that you are now a part of the Schulich family, and our continuing the legacy of the Schuligans before you. But eventually, everything has to come to an end, and school kicks into high gear. Orientation Week seems like nothing but a distant memory as you begin to get used to life here at Schulich. What kicks your spirit into high gear once again are Schulich Leader Tryouts and now students have the opportunity to be a mentor to the incoming students, and use cheers as a way to make them feel like part of the family, and the cycle repeats.
For many people, the cycle ends with Orientation Week. For 47 people every year, they relive the same experience by attending JDC Central in January. Now you are put in a room with 12 other business schools from across Central and Eastern Canada. The feeling here is different; the cheers are no longer a way to make you feel like you belong, but rather a way that your team stands out. With 12 other business schools trying to be “School of the Year”, your team’s main goal is to come out on top, egos are flying, so you would think that every school would just be chanting their own name: but there’s the catch. Ask any former delegate what the number one sin is at JDCC, and they say it would be starting a Schulich cheer. In this environment, as much as you want to boast about your own school, you are encouraged to cheer on other schools while rooting on your own. This helps you develop a comradery with other students, and makes you realize that there are other business students who are going through the exact same things as you across Canada.
After looking at Schulich cheers in an internal and external context, there is a common theme of connecting with others. Whether it be within the Schulich community, or those across Canada, they help you form a bond. But what is next for these cheers? As someone who has been involved in Orientation Week and JDCC throughout my university career, I hope that students continue to be imaginative and create new cheers, to pass down to generations, and to leave their own mark on Schulich history. But I also hope that these cheers incorporate societal values of inclusivity to ensure that every single person in the incoming class feels included, rather than excluded in these cheers. For those who find these cheers to be lame, or a waste of time, I challenge you to understand why we have them in place, and think about what your O-Week experience would be like without it. And if you still have reservations about these cheers, I have one final question for you: are you hot to go?