Each spring, sororities, fraternities and other groups participate in All-University Sing, a Baylor tradition that has been going strong since 1953.
Presented by the Department of Student Activities, Sing is an event in which the groups perform seven-minute Broadway-like performances in hopes of being chosen as one of the top eight acts to perform in Pigskin Revue during homecoming of the fall semester.
And while this university tradition serves to bring many groups together for one purpose, students would do well to keep one thing in mind — attending Baylor is about obtaining a degree, not making Pigskin.
Mike Reimer, a previous coordinator for special performances, said Sing became really competitive in 1963 and since then countless students have invested time, money, tears and even blood into producing a show that provides entertainment to its audience, while simultaneously serving as a recruitment tool.
Because there is a large amount of time spent working to perfect the show, many groups draw closer together as a community, strengthening the organization by the end of the production. Because of the show’s popularity, it is undoubtedly responsible for helping bring a large number of alumni home for Homecoming to see the Pigskin Revue.
Despite the fact that Sing helps to bridge the gap between current students and alumni, students participating in Sing often find themselves having to choose between what they know is best for them, and what leaders of their respective organization think is best for them.
Many fraternities and sororities, especially those of a smaller size than their competitors, require that many of their members compete in the competition rather than making it optional.
While there are of course exceptions, fines are often issued for those who opt not to participate in the event. Those participating in Sing often see an increase in dues to cover costumes, props and choreography.
Sing can also become a financial burden for many whether they’re participating in Sing or not. Because of this financial burden and peer pressure from leaders, students often feel obligated to participate despite not wanting to due to other time commitments.
Because students often have three and four practices a week in preparation for the production, they often find themselves scrambling to find time to study and prepare for exams during the week.
This was noticed first in the ’70s when students began failing classes due to the time commitments of Sing and its perceived importance, according to the university’s website on the history of Sing.
This precious time students invest in Sing is time that they cannot retrieve at a later date, and can sometimes mean an entire letter grade drop due to the time commitments of competing in Sing.
The university has taken steps to decrease the strains that Sing often places on students such as limiting the amount of money students can spend on the event to placing time restrictions.
According to Sing policies and procedures, students cannot be required to rehearse more than eight hours during the week, and six hours during the weekend. Practices also cannot be held past midnight.
By placing time restrictions on rehearsals, placing a cap at midnight and limiting the amount students can spend on the production has proved to be somewhat effective as it has limited the amount of time and money students are required to invest in the show. But overall, student leaders should take into account that inadvertently forcing students to participate in Sing by imposing fines on those who wish not to, and furthermore, holding practices at inconvenient times throughout the week, they are jeopardizing the academic lives of students.
Realizing this would help alleviate the tensions caused during Sing by those participating against their will, a move that would benefit the overall health of the organization and the university.