Saturday, November 12, 2011

Ivory Spirit

Walk around downtown Boston, and you can't help but notice the little stands selling T-shirts throughout the city. At each stall, the selection is the same. There's your classic "Boston" shirt, red lettering on navy. You've got the green shirt with the three-leaf clover (makes you 75% luckier?). And then you see it: The red shirt with white lettering. But those letter's don't spell "Boston" (or bah-stahn, as the locals would call it), they spell "Harvard" (hah-vahd).

Suspiciously missing from apparel stands everywhere

But anyone who goes to school in or around the Boston area knows that Harvard isn't the only school here - in fact, Harvard's student population (graduate and undergraduate) totals around 27 thousand, according to Wikipedia. Compare that to Bentley, BC, BU, Brandeis, Emerson, MIT, Newbury, Northeastern, Quincy,  Simmons, Suffolk, Tufts, and dozens of others, and you're not exactly talking about the majority of the student population of the Boston area.

Then again, people can't be expected to want a Tufts shirt until they understand the university. What makes it tick? What are its traditions? What's the spirit behind the brown and blue? Good news, folks. The answers are here.

First, a sampling. We have the kind of students here who, during September, when all the student clubs are busy recruiting members, post this on manholes throughout campus:

Or the type of kids who, between classes and other commitments, take time to stand outside the library entrance shouting compliments at every student who walks by. "I love your shoes!" one shouts, turning to face the confused freshman brushing past him. "I like your compliments!" I shout, albeit online, from behind a keyboard.

Perhaps the most comprehensive collection of Jumbo pride now exists in the newly created "Ivory Book," a recent reincarnation of an ancient Tufts tradition, the "Ivy Book." But at Tufts, we're not about the Ivy. We're not Harvard. We don't come with a record-setting $32 billion dollar endowment (though we're not exactly the school of hard knocks, Senator Brown), and we don't have T-shirts on sale in the Boston Commons.

What we have is a sense of humor. What we have is a sense of goodness. What we have is  Jumbo pride, and some new Ivory spirit.

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