On behalf of Emory’s other established campus secret societies, we would like to address the issue of “school spirit,” particularly here at Emory. The idea of school spirit often conjures images of pride, accomplishment, tradition and joy. Spirit is an interesting phenomenon because it originates in the deep interior of a being, not from outside influences. Spirit cannot be bought or sold, given or taken, or simply manifested at will. Spirit arises from within people when they are proud of who they are and what they are about. Yes, spirit among individuals is fascinating, but “campuswide” spirit is even more so.
Campuswide spirit requires individual students of differing races, backgrounds, ideas, and principles to converge their pride on one common place. In some respects, campuswide spirit is a miracle. When so many perspectives and ideas of what spirit is “individually” can be translated into pride for one common institution, like Emory, that is truly a miraculous occurrence. Campuswide spirit is difficult, but well-earned, and takes years of diligent work to foster.
Now that we can all agree that school spirit is something special, The Paladin Society would like to focus your attention on how spirit for Emory runs rampantly through our student body. As an organization ourselves, we focus on many of the groups and individuals who promote our amazing University. The very people we decide to recognize are those who compose the many working parts of Emory University. Without these special friends, Emory would not be what and where it is today. These various constituencies are continually building campuswide pride by working to improve life at Emory.
Look around you: in your residence halls, in the Dobbs University Center, on the Quadrangle. There you will find students toiling daily to succeed in their activities and classes, all of which contribute to the outstanding reputation that Emory possesses. Some of our campus groups promote school traditions like Homecoming Ball, Dooley’s Week, the Emory Class Ring Ceremony, Charter Week, Emory Weekend, winning conference athletic championships and actively engaging competitors like Washington University in St. Louis. All of these accomplishments, as well as the hundreds not mentioned, often get taken for granted or go unnoticed by many. It is necessary, therefore, that they are recognized, congratulated, and encouraged to remain on the path to success. As a society, we, the Paladins, have worked long and hard to reach out to the periphery of accomplishments to seek out and recognize the best gifts given to Emory: our students, staff, faculty, alumni and administration. Emory has a tradition of excellence, and in order to preserve that tradition it is necessary for each and every one of us to give thanks to those around us who donate so much of their time and resources for the betterment of the University.
While some may feel that Emory lacks tradition, perhaps even going so far as to criticize the actions of Paladin and other secret societies, we ask, “For what purpose?”
You cannot build community by destroying it. We are glad that the Order of Ammon possesses a certain pride in Emory, but we suggest that there is a better way of going about promoting it. To consider the many accomplishments and traditions achieved by this great community, “recycled failures” shows a lack of respect and understanding of what Emory is. We may not practice tradition and pride in a stadium, but rather we do so through our theatre and dance performances, student government meetings, athletic competitions and cultural festivals. Being ignorant of the spirit and traditions Emory already possesses and criticizing the organizations that strive to do what you are just beginning to attempt will only harm community, not build it. Tradition and pride for Emory was born almost 170 years ago and runs far deeper than mere campus graffiti. We thank the members of Emory’s organizations, secret or otherwise, for challenging us all to fulfill our highest potential. As for our newcomer societies, it is reckless to assume you know all of the work being done by Emory’s secret societies. As always, we will be watching.
—The Paladin Society is a secret society. It coordinates the “Knights of Emory Spirit” award.