Mac Mondays takes a more subtle approach to spirit

By Alex Park

Almost three full semesters after its launch, the purpose of Mac Mondays and its parent, the Leadership and Community Development program, still appears ambiguous to many students.In an effort to kindle school spirit and instill pride among students and faculty, Campus Programs created Mac Mondays last year as the cornerstone of the burgeoning Leadership and Community Development program and its $10,000 budget. Small prizes were awarded to people spotted in the Campus Center at lunch wearing Macalester insignia, the color orange, or anything else related to the school. In addition, orange and blue streamers and signs promoting school spirit hung in Café Mac.

But, as more than a few students, faculty and staff were willing to admit, it all looked a little too hokey.

“It was a feeble attempt at trying to make a school tradition,” Dan Herrera ’09 said. “I was indifferent to it; I didn’t take advantage.”

This year, under the guidance of Karlyn Wegmann, Interim Program Coordinator for Leadership and Community Development, Mac Mondays has changed its face in order to be less intrusive but hopefully more effective than last year.

The streamers have been taken down and students can now win larger prizes. Anyone visibly wearing orange, or even something as seemingly insignificant as a keychain with the Macalester insignia, is entitled to a raffle ticket with prizes ranging from a Macalester tee-shirt to a $25 gift certificate for the Grille.

Wegmann said this was a necessary evolution in Mac Mondays.

School spirit “has to be on terms that people are ready for,” she said. “I think the intent is there, it’s just about how we fulfill it.”

Wegmann conceded that, originally, the larger gift certificates were only going to be awarded once every few weeks. But as it became obvious that this was what people wanted most, the program started issuing them every Monday.

As a result, she said, the raffle has become one of the larger burdens on the Leadership and Community Development program’s budget. Nonetheless, Wegmann said, Mac Mondays has its benefits, even if they aren’t immediately visible.

“Is this a little silly? Yes,” Wegmann said. “The process is a little silly, but what comes from it might not be.”

But trying to induce school spirit in the Campus Center on Monday afternoons may be a futile attempt all together.

“Personally, I think having Monday Night Football games would do more to bring out school spirit than Mac Mondays,” Victoria Harris ’09 said.

Wegmann was hired this year as an interim to test the feasibility of a permanent program coordinator position for the Leadership and Community Development program. In addition to Mac Mondays, the program also oversees an annual Leadership Development Conference which, Wegmann said, is meant to hone a sense of leadership among community members, a necessary component to developing a spirit of community at Macalester. This year, the program will also add the Mac Market, a showcase and sale of student, faculty, staff and alumni arts and crafts to its list of sponsored events.

Wegmann said she doesn’t expect the event, which will be held in the atrium of the Campus Center this semester on Dec. 15, to be very large at first.

Despite what some see as a lack of school spirit among students, Wegmann said she’s happy with her work.

“I love Macalester,” she said. “I think it’s a special place. I want to be here. We are different here, and we should be proud of that.”