For the past decade or so, Stony Brook has not been known for it’s school spirit. The last few years however have shown an evolution from the “suitcase school” it was, to the competitive, well-rounded university Stony Brook is striving to become. While events such as concerts and comedy shows have been having attendance increases, events like homecoming remind us of how dramatically things have changed.

In 2011 Stony Brook’s homecoming game featured a firework display. Most students didn’t stay to watch, they left chanting “let’s get drunk.” A professor at the time laughed and said that was way more united than she’d seen the student body at any point in her three years there. Attendance at the game didn’t even rank in the top 20 in stadium history.

In 2012 the homecoming game shattered the Kenneth P. LaValle Stadiums attendance record. 10,278 students, alumni and community members came out to show their support for the Seawolves.

This year, the attendance record was beaten again. 11,224 fans came out for the game, according to Stony Brook Athletics’ Twitter.

The increased enthusiasm for Stony Brook athletics probably has a lot to do with the university’s improving teams, and improving reputation in general. While SBU may have been well known in the science and research communities, we’re building up our reputation in other areas too.

In the spring of 2012 the Stony Brook Baseball team made it decently far into the College World Series. One statistic being repeated over and over again read that more people watched SBU play against Louisiana during the CWS than had come been to their home games throughout the entire season.

Everything about Stony Brook is on the rise, and if school spirit is benefitting from it, all the better. Having outstanding programs in science, pre-health, journalism, engineering, and anthropology draws a lot of students to the school. Tailgating, sports and homecoming are the kinds of events that draw in even more. Having large turnouts at football games and teams who make it to major tournaments gets the Stony Brook University name out there, people talk about you when you do well.

Stony Brook is becoming somewhere students can actually be proud of, and it can only go up from here.

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