2014 marked a monumental year in Springfield College’s rich history.
It had been 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spoke on campus as well as the introduction of women’s varsity athletics. Bringing in Dr. Mary-Beth Cooper was another feat for Springfield, as she became the first woman president of the college.
With President Cooper came piles of new ideas and innovations that students, faculty and even Cooper herself, could not wait to put into action.
Among the wave of ideas sprouted the Cooper Cup as a way for Springfield College students to bond, grow and connect with their fellow classmates.
“It originated as a way to build events around who Springfield College was,” stated Greg Narleski the interim Assistant Director of Student Activities. “But it evolved into a fun competition between all the classes and a race to get as much student engagement as possible.”
Pitting the freshman, sophomore, junior and senior classes against each other, the inaugural Cooper Cup consisted of a range of games and events in which class participation was key.
Springfield College is a place where, aside from New Student Orientations and housing, class affiliation is brushed aside. Students tend to connect more with their majors or clubs over their classmates.
“The intent was to try and create class spirit and awareness while bringing to light homecoming weekend,” commented Anne Warchol, the interim Director of Student Activities.
Although Homecoming Weekend is focused towards alumni, lessons on class spirit can be learned from those who have gone through the ranks. After graduation everyone boasts about their graduation year and holds their diploma proudly and as members of the freshman, sophomore, junior and senior classes, Springfield College students will forever be remembered by the year they graduated.
So wouldn’t everyone want a class they can be proud of and brag about for the rest of their lives? Yes majors and clubs are a huge part of a college student’s life but their class/graduation year is so much bigger. Class years leave legacies. They are forever.
What the Cooper Cup helps with is class unity. Class togetherness. To stand up at graduation and say, ‘This is my class’ without hesitation.
Like all four classes on campus, the Cooper Cup has already started to leave its own legacy at Springfield.
Dominating the event, last year’s freshman class showed campus that unity and participation can go a long way.
“It was a humbling and awesome experience,” said sophomore Kevin Mirando. “To be the first winner is something that will be remembered forever, which means so much more to our class.”
Held November last year, the Cooper Cup’s structure has changed ever so slightly. With the involvement of Homecoming events, such as the rope pull and Home Show, the Cup has effectively reached more people.
One event however was unable to be played again. After an unfortunate ripping of the ball, Cage Ball has been retired as an official Cooper Cup sport. President Cooper went as far as to cut up and sign pieces of the first ball for students to keep a fraction of history with them.
With Cage Ball effectively gone, the new aspect of the Cup is the incorporation of Homecoming Weekend. This collaboration could not have been more perfect.
Wanting to inspire class loyalty, the Cooper Cup was destined to be connected with Homecoming all along. Loyalty is all Homecoming weekend is about. Bringing back years, even decades, of alumni, this weekend spews Springfield College spirit.
Events continuing into the weekend consist of Trivia Thursday night at 9 p.m in the Union, The Gymnastics Home Show Friday and Saturday nights and the Rope Pull at halftime of the football game, which will start at 2 p.m. Saturday.
At the end of the Rope Pull, the Cup will be presented to the winning class. However, spirit, class unity and participation are all looked at in the final decision on who brings home the trophy.
In a weekend with so many proud Springfield College alumni, it is the current students who really bring campus alive and bring back all those memories of years past.