Do you bleed blue and gold?

Would you want to be seen next to a ruthless, wild, dedicated, insane, egotistical student?

My answer: absolutely! Especially when that student is a member of the AK-Rowdies.

While some on campus may support certain stereotypes and find the Rowdies over-the-top to the point of being obnoxious, they make up the most spirited and proud student organization around.

If you have ever been to a game, match or meet, you will instantly recognize the group. Whether it’s Ian Tayek, president of the AK-Rowdies, Chris Stimler, the ever-present vice-president, or Rachel Kolencik that you see in the front row, you will discover that the AK-Rowdies not only support athletics here at the University of Akron, but they also spread that passion toward the improvement of the entire community.

The Rowdies are not only well known around campus, but also much needed.  For only being five years into their reign of terror over Zips opponents, the 2,000 members are making an impact on campus, in the Mid-American Conference and in the nation.

School spirit shined bright when our mascot Zippy was voted No. 1 mascot in the 2008-2009 academic school year. Our pride was unimaginably strong at the NCAA College Cup in Cary, North Carolina last December, as well. Although some people believe that their heckling is uncalled for or rude, I believe that it is all in support of the school they love and the athletes who represent them.

Men’s soccer Head Coach Caleb Porter is constantly telling the Rowdies that without them, our No. 1 ranked Men’s soccer team wouldn’t be so successful. I agree that soccer certainly would have a hard time getting the record-breaking crowds out to Lee Jackson Field for every single game! With a consistently large group of Rowdies at every athletic event around campus, along with the University’s new ROO-wards program to encourage turnout, there is no saying what our athletic teams can accomplish!

Every fall, the University of Akron hosts an event for its students which seemingly comes straight out of the halls of high school: the homecoming dance.

Homecoming itself is a college tradition meant to commemorate a school’s football team returning home from a streak of away games. This offers an opportunity for current and alumni students to interact.

The homecoming dance has become a sacred rite of high schools throughout the country. This begs the question of why this dance is important at all in the life of a college student.

Everyone remembers homecoming dances in high school, with the popularity contest that rules the selection of kings and queens. The applicants are not recognized for good works, but instead elected by arbitrary means. You would think that the activities of a school of higher education would be for the purpose of creating new networks and developing skills needed for the rest of one’s life.

For instance, what benefit does a commuting full-time student with a part-time job derive from a school dance? The majority of students who attend this University are in fact commuter students, limiting the possible attendees of the dance to fraternities, sororities and on-campus residents. Homecoming in college is meant to bring current students and alumni together to celebrate their team, a purpose that a high school-like dance does not fulfill in any way.

Celebrating the homecoming of a barely competitive football team such as the Zips with something as elegant as a dance is inappropriate. It would be one thing if the Zips were undefeated defending champions, but it’s another since the team can barely pull off a victory. Any resources used to support and promote the University homecoming dance could be put to better use promoting and sponsoring activities that engage a larger part of the student body in new and unique ways instead of this old, extinct one.

College is about expanding horizons and giving students new opportunities that they have never been exposed to before. What is the purpose of higher education if not to expose its students to new opportunities?

College activities must exist for the purpose of a student’s intellectual growth and recognition of outstanding achievements. Any other reason for an activity’s existence within a university is arbitrary. Eight percent of a student‘s life is spent in college. Every moment of that time should exist for the development of their future.