We need to rediscover UND’s school spirit

I write this article from a state of disappointment and realization having just walked through our beautiful Memorial Union. Recollecting on my past three years here at UND, there doesn’t seem to be any real spirit for our school.

A fierce pride once occupied these halls, given the way my grandparents and relatives discuss UND. Now the only time we have spirit is when we are being bribed to do so. Through the free french fry feed or the free food offered by ARH at housing events, I think it is time for a serious discussion on why this has happened.

As of 2015, UND sadly lacks  an identity. In the past, UND was comprised of the children of wealthy farmers — most of whom had similar experiences and therefore were able to relate to each through shared experiences and culture. In those times, it was not uncommon for people to be willing to drive 80-90 miles to attend a barn raising or visit a neighboring town.

If we wanted the latest designer wear we were forced to go to Fargo or the cities. Now more so than ever, we can “Buy it Now” through E-Bay or Amazon.

As a result of this, I believe people are perfectly content with their small town lifestyles.

Before there was merit to search, UND was a place to meet people whom you would never have the chance to without attending UND. The diverse group of people you can meet include Air China students, the engineering students from Pakistan or a simple East Coaster from Washington D.C.

Over the past few weeks, I have probably asked over one hundred students a simple question; “Do you want to be here?” The answer is a resounding no.

I then proceeded to ask why they chose to come here if they didn’t believe it was for them. The three most common responses include:

1) Affordability

It should come as no surprise that a significant portion of the students work day jobs to help cover tuition. UND was the cheapest reputable option even for out of state students.

2) Lack of Choice

For many students, UND was the best or only choice for high school graduates looking to go to a four year public university.

3) Unique Programs

This is one of the only flight academies in the country and as a result, even if people despise the weather, culture and people, they are forced to come here if they’d like to pursue aviation.

As you read these, a sad reality should come to you. I believe currently that UND is not a culture that promotes spirit and positivity.

What once used to be a source of state pride has become a detour. Much like Highway 29 during a blizzard, UND has become a trap for the students who can’t go anywhere else.

All I ask of the students who feel this way is that they try to make an effort to discover UND as opposed to moping around perpetuating the cycle of disappointment and contributing to a harmful university culture.

I, for one, believe in UND. I believe there is a potential here. I believe that UND will once again come together as a community, whether it be through a bootleg Spring Fest or our hockey games. But we need to look at ourselves and ask “Why aren’t we happy here?”

Dave Owen is a opinion writer for  The Dakota Student. He can be reached at

[email protected]