A college university is a place where differences in opinion are encouraged. Many of the speakers and programs here at the University are designed to challenge students to question their beliefs and explore new avenues of thought. Sometimes, the debates can become quite polarizing. The heated exchanges over whether “Gay. fine by God?” is an appropriate theme for a forum series or whether the University’s administration and students are taking enough preventive measures to stop  alcohol abuse on campus are examples of this.

As a result, it’s exceptionally refreshing to find a time when the entire campus community unites behind a common goal. The men’s basketball team’s run for the Patriot League Championship is doing just that. The unanimous support from students, staff and administrators reveals the underlying sense of community that binds everyone at the campus together.

The basketball games have been amazing experiences at all levels. Our student athletes and their coaches are working hard to play their best. Students are attending games in record numbers, proudly wearing  orange and blue and cheering the team on. Professors and administrators can often be spotted in the crowd as well. Other sports teams have come as a group to support their fellow athletes.

The Bison Backers program allowed students to purchase basketball tickets for the entire season, but the program does not cover postseason games. The Office of the President stepped in and purchased tickets for all of the students in the Bison Backers program and is distributing them before each game free of charge. This gesture demonstrates that our University administrators both care about the success of our students and care about cultivating a sense of community at the University.

During a time in which campus climate is such a big issue, it is refreshing to see the campus community come together in such a wholeheartedly positive way. The success of the men’s basketball team has emphasized our common identities as Sojka Psychos and Bison fans. We may be students or faculty, men or women, black or white, Greeks or non-Greeks, conservative or liberal, gay or heterosexual, drinkers or non-drinkers, religious or non-religious, engineers or students in the College of Arts and Sciences–but for a few hours during each game, what matters is not how we are different but how we are the same.

Even after the basketball season is over and we begin to return to our normal lives, we must not forget this common identity, and we must allow this Bison spirit to live on. Our differences are not unimportant, and our beliefs may be worth fighting for, but emphasizing our common bonds brings out the best in us.

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