The Collegian
Wednesday, April 17, 2024

"We Are One Richmond" movement seeks to unite Spiders

Two University of Richmond students produced the viral video "We Are One Richmond" last week, promoting the basketball team as a unifying force for Richmond's student body, and students' attention to basketball has so far been more prominent than last year only two games into the season.

The collaborating students Josh Grice and Nick Olindo, with help from Jeremy Day and the voice of Bob Black, published their video three days before the sold-out Richmond-Delaware game. By then, the video already had thousands of views on YouTube.

Grice, the Richmond Rowdies' president, was the director and videographer, and Olindo, a manger of the men's basketball team, was the writer. The project's concept came from a desire to focus the independent components of Richmond's student body behind one banner: the basketball team.

Through the video's imagery, Grice wanted students to identify the unique and essential aspects of Richmond: the diverse students, the school's physical beauty, its small size and its dedicated professionals, and take the enthusiasm for that school and apply it to the basketball team. "We want students to feel a connection," Grice said.

Olindo said he believed students are just caught in the differences of Richmond, and do not unify over one thing.

"One of the best things about our school is the fact that there is so many things for us to get involved in," Olindo said. "The downside to that lies in that the abundance of activities can begin to divide us, so instead of identifying ourselves as Spiders, we ONLY identify with our frat, sorority, club, etc. A strong sense of community is very much an attainable thing here. It just requires everyone realizing that THEY have to BE part of the change."

The season opener's impressive student turnout suggests a new fervor within Richmond's fans. Although this fervor could stem from special-interest groups like the Rowdies, many students attending the first game said they had not seen the video.

"I think for students, for people who actually know this school and don't play Quidditch or ultimate Frisbee, the video doesn't apply to you," sophomore Hunter Chambers said. "It's a five-minute video. It was entertaining, but for most students the video just doesn't look like their day. Students decide to go to the games because they do or don't want to go, not because of a promotional video."

Although a video may not radicalize Richmond fans, "We Are One Richmond" did divert student attention to the basketball team. Olindo and Grice seek to continue their efforts until "students feel they are compelled to show up, like it's a part of being a student here," Grice said.

Contact staff writer Ben Casella at ben.casella@richmond.edu

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