School spirit rings anew

By The Beacon | April 6, 2011 9:00pm

ASUP plans to repair the Victory Bell outside the Chiles Center, hoping to renew school pride

(Scott Chia -- The Beacon)

By Sarah Hansell, Staff Writer --

UP's Victory Bell was a symbol of school pride and spirit ever since it was donated to the school by UP engineering students in 1938.

It used to be mounted on a cart, taken to home games and rung for victories. On occasion, other schools stole the bell and painted it in rival colors, leaving in abandoned in parking lots or in the snow at Mount Hood for UP students to find.

Now cracked, its clapper missing and currently unusable, the Victory Bell sits in its permanent residence outside the Chiles Center, where it was installed in 1989.

Now, many students do not even know what or where it is.

"All I know is it's broken and it hasn't worked for a long time," freshman Erin Spies said.

This semester ASUP is using part of its capital improvements fund (CIF) to repair the bell.

ASUP Vice President and senior Katie Scally said she hasn't heard the bell ring once during her time on campus.

"Really what sold ASUP (on this project) was the fact that we're all really working hard for something that we feel has been lacking – a sense of school pride," Scally said.

In the past, students in the UP fraternity brought the bell to home games on a cart. They used it to announce victories.

"It was very much a central issue during (sports) seasons," Jim Covert, a retired UP professor and the author of UP's history, "A Point of Pride," said. "It was a kind of a great symbol of Pilot pride."

However, after the fraternity was disbanded in the 1970s, the bell was passed around among student groups. It ultimately sat unused and then disappeared.

In 1989, Covert found the bell in a student's basement, and a new dome was constructed outside the Chiles Center for the bell, freshly cleaned and painted with a big black-and-silver P.

Despite the Victory Bell's new residence and fresh coat of paint, it remains rather unpopular.

"It's not the most talked about issue on campus for sure," ASUP Senator and freshman Walker Ross said.

However, ASUP hopes repairing the bell will revitalize the old tradition the bell provided, giving this piece of campus tradition the chance to live on again and foster school pride.

"I think there's a lot of potential for the Victory Bell to be a great symbol of (school spirit)," Scally said.

"It's obvious in certain sports that we're lacking in school spirit, and I think this would be a nice touch to try to bring all that back," ASUP Senator and senior Danielle Castro said.

Some students echo this opinion.

"If someone was like ringing it super hard as people walked out of the area where the soccer field was, I can see people gathering around the Victory Bell and cheering and just going nuts," senior Jasonn Hannibal said.

Some students think the bell would bring a better atmosphere to athletic events.

"It'd add more sass to the games," freshman Colleen Cooper said.

ASUP plans to work with the Physical Plant to repair the damage to the bell, buy a new clapper and paint the bell gold with a purple P by the end of June, giving UP a chance to renew this tradition.

"It's something that unites people, pulls people together in support of the athletic program," Covert said.