University tradition is a reflection of the student body at any given school. Part of what makes university tradition so special is the belief among students that their school is exclusive, distinctive and exceptional.
UTSA is an emerging Tier One university and the largest in the San Antonio metropolitan region with over 30,000 students. The university, sprawling with cultural diversity, demands top-notch scholars and welcomes students from all over the world. The one thing that UTSA lacks, though — albeit because of the youth of the university — is tradition.
Throughout the state of Texas, various universities glow with campus tradition. At the University of Texas at Austin, students have their time-honored slogan “Hook Em’ Horns,” the UT Tower and their beloved mascot Bevo. At Texas A&M University, students have their Aggie Bonfire and Twelfth Man mantra. But what does UTSA have to boast as its tradition?
UTSA developed its Rowdy Roadrunner hand sign in the ‘80s, with many students and faculty still uncertain as to how the sign itself came to be. As luck would have it, this personifies the lack of importance given to tradition that is present at UTSA — where the only tradition present is entrenched with vague importance. Because of this, there is a clear lack of unity among students at the university. The students have nothing of their own to call exclusive, distinctive and exceptional. So what has the university done to compensate for this?
On Sep. 6, 2013, UTSA unveiled its Rowdy statue to boost spirit, moral and tradition among students. The statue cost the university $25,000 with the whole of the cost covered by donations. But the 6-foot tall, 11- foot long, half-ton, iron statue still rests in the University Center, with its final resting place unknown.
The 2013 fall graduation came and went with the Rowdy statue present in the University Center, roped off and unable to be touched by students. The spring 2014 graduation correspondingly came and went, with the Rowdy statue still in its temporary place.
Possibilities for new tradition and university pride have since been put on hold, as the mysterious wait for the placement of the statue continues. Opportunities are endless for students, alumni, faculty and families to create new traditions with the statue, with graduates deserving more than just a walk in the Alamodome.
UTSA has been growing and expanding at an astronomical rate, becoming known for outstanding research, quality education and economic contribution to the region. With expansion coming at such a fast pace, the lack of tradition becomes ever so obvious.
Until the Rowdy Statue is moved, every day that passes at UTSA is another day without solid traditions. It only takes one student to create an idea that will remain with other students, and given the beauty and design of the Rowdy statue, the future looks exciting for UTSA tradition.