Rituals are found in all cultures and are believed to arise out of disharmony within the culture (Gluckman, 1997). Symbols within rituals have observable characteristics that can be seen by participants and bystanders. Revitalization movements “synthesize many traditional cultural elements with elements introduced from the dominant society” (Rosman and Rubel, 2001:308). The Cornell College football team practices the rituals of the Fight Song and the Victory Bell upon winning a game. These traditions have been reinstated this year by the new head coach and have been brought back into the Cornell community. They are not performed in exactly the same manner as before. I had hypothesized that these traditions had been discontinued due to social unrest on campus. The alumni I spoke with both felt that the Fight Song had just faded away throughout the years, but other traditions had died with it due to social issues on campus. The Fight Song brought a sense of unity and pride to the Cornell community during the 1960s. It gave students a sense of ownership. The requirement to learn the song during orientation was a rite of passage into being accepted within the Cornell community. The current students interviewed did not feel that the Fight Song brings this sense of community to them. The new head coach has given his players the tools to learn the Fight Song, and now they are teaching it to the rest of the Cornell community. This reflects that this tradition may be well on its way to becoming apart of the Cornell community again.
Amanda Prince, ’03 Hartford, IA
Major: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Sponsor: Alfrieta Monagan