If you visited the Student Center last week, you probably noticed the blue and red decorations signifying DePaul’s annual Blue Demon Week. Maybe you saw signs on campus that listed an itinerary of the week’s events, or even decided to check out a few of the events with your friends.
Or, if you’re like freshman Madalyn Moscinksi, maybe you didn’t.
“I didn’t really know why we were doing this. I didn’t know what it was at all,” Moscinski said. “I would like a warning, because I just walked into the Student Center and it was all decorated and I didn’t know why.”
Moscinski’s response isn’t a unique one. Throughout campus, many students demonstrated a sense of ambivalence toward the annual tradition, which is designed to foster school spirit and pride.
Hope Herten, who helped organize the Blue Demon Challenge through the DePaul Future Alumni Association, said the week felt anticlimactic.
“I feel like there’s been a lack of excitement about it this year,” Herten said. “I feel like in past years everyone knew it was Blue Demon Week, and this year it’s just a little bit less. And I don’t know why that is, because there’s a lot of really great planning that went into this.”
Blue Demon Week began in 2014 as a replacement for homecoming, and it’s held during a week that has both a men’s and a women’s home basketball game. This year’s events were planned by DePaul Activities Board, Student Government Association and several other organizations on campus. They included a blood drive, a chocolate cake taste testing and a homecoming-style dance, among many others.
Despite the currents of unawareness circulating throughout the student body, several event organizers said they were pleased by the turnout. Noelle Senior, the Blue Demon Week coordinator for DePaul Activities Board, said she thought the student reaction to the week’s events was encouraging.
“It’s been really good,” Senior said. “We have a lot of people that are really excited. We’re getting people really pumped for Blue Demon Week and being a Blue Demon in general.”
She said students traditionally are most interested in the dance, which was held this year at Navy Pier, and the men’s and women’s basketball games. These events are held over the weekend, when students traditionally have more free time.
“I think it’s kind of a nice thing just to relax right before midterms hit,” she said.
Usually Blue Demon Week falls during late February, so it’s possible that the earlier date gave students less time to pay attention to advertising for the events. Additionally, despite the potential for relaxation, the looming threat of midterms may have distracted students from paying attention to smaller events that were held during the school week.
It’s also fair to add that some students are naturally more inclined toward school spirit, and thus willing to attend a greater number of events. For instance, Daoud Ganama said he set up calendar alerts on his phone to remind him of upcoming Blue Demon Week events. He planned to wear a new Blue Demons shirt and foam finger that he won at one of the events to the Xavier men’s basketball game on Saturday.
“I participate whenever I come by and I see (the events),” Ganama said. “I’ve done all of them. I was at the bingo one. That was nice, but I didn’t get lucky.”
His favorite was the Blue Demon Night In, where attendees gathered together in their pajamas to watch movies and decorate pillowcases.
During this year and in years to come, organizers plan to make the events more accessible to the general student body. Student Government Association President Vanessa Cadavillo said that she feels this year has done a good job of starting that.
“From what I’ve heard so far, this is the first year that it’s felt very inclusive,” Cadavillo said. “I think the events that we’ve had planned this week invite different organizations to come together and intermingle with other students that they’ve never really interacted with before.”
She said she hopes students will eventually recognize the value in showing DePaul school spirit.
“I think Blue Demon Week is important because we often have trouble thinking about the traditions we have that are recognized within the university,” Cadavillo said. “But then there are little things like taking a picture with the Father Egan statue, or listening for your voice echoing in St. Vincent de Paul circle. And I think that with all of those combined, those are little things that turn into traditions.”