Embracing sports culture at UTD will bring Comets together and invigorate campus
UTD’s lack of a sports culture is a direct culprit for the school’s lack of a social scene. Luckily, this is something Comets can easily change by stepping outside their comfort zone and giving sports a try.
It’s no secret UTD has a unique student culture when compared to most public universities. In 2018, the Princeton review ranked UTD No. 4 for most unhappy student body population. This is hardly a surprise —a quick trip to the school’s unofficial Reddit page shows a wall of daily complaints. UTD students are not happy. But why?
UTD lacks a vibrant social atmosphere or any sense of community. Several factors contribute to this: a large population of commuters, an academically-focused student body and a lack of school pride. Commuting is an unchangeable factor and academics should never be ignored, but the lack of school pride that exists at UTD can and should be improved upon. The easiest way for Comets to do so is to invest their time in the school, particularly in live sporting events.
Being able to share our excitement or sadness at our school’s wins or loses creates a sense of community that is sorely lacking on campus — sports are a huge morale booster. A 2022 study published by Frontiers in Public Health found that attending live sporting events not only decreases loneliness, but also increases life satisfaction. Attending games can not only boost school spirit, but a person’s spirit as well, leading to a better, happier UTD.
Engaging with concerts and clubs are good ways to break into social life at UTD, but campus sports represent the heart of the school itself and are the pinnacle of social events. Our sports teams represent our school and our school alone, as they are a reflection of every Comet on campus. And attending games is a way for all Comets, regardless of interests, to come together and show our school pride.
I will admit, even I am not the biggest athletics fan. Until I came to UTD, I had only been to one or two basketball games, a football game and a handful of hockey games years ago. But since attending UTD, I have found a love for being a part of the audience and cheering my fellow Comets on. The stands may not be packed, but the excitement that ripples throughout it every time a three-pointer or a goal is made tells me that a full crowd could work wonders for UTD.
If convenience is a worry, it’s never been a better time to follow UTD sports. Recently, UTD’s athletics department revamped their website and merch, making it easier than ever to access news about games and show support. Admittance to any UTD game is free with a Comet Card and provides a great opportunity to meet and socialize with fellow Comets, as well as support our student athletes.
UTD’s sports teams are wildly successful and worth watching. The UTD women’s basketball team won the ASC championship title their last season, the men’s soccer team grabbed an ASC win this season, UTD’s Esports team is currently ranked top 12 in the nation and our football team is undefeated. Of course, we don’t actually have a football team, but our very real and very talented existing teams continue to be successful year after year. But those successes feel half-lived and unappreciated if no one celebrates them. Banding around our peers’ wins is what brings students together.
Lacking a football team doesn’t define campus sports or make student athletes’ work any less thrilling or engaging. UTD has conference-winning basketball teams, championship-winning soccer teams and a plethora of other sports teams that don’t get enough support for their incredible achievements. UTD students should be proud of all aspects of the school they attend, not just the academics. Going to just one or two sporting events a semester will not only boost your own involvement at UTD, but also increase overall school pride and social culture.