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Wisconsin alumni magazine
Volume 13, Number 5 (Feb. 1912)

Beck, Carl
Wisconsin spirit--a discussion,   pp. [243]-247

Page [243]

                   By- CARL BECK, '13
IRIT" is a word that
has been    overworked
at WVsconsin.    It is
sort of hackneyed. The
meaning    has   almost
been squeezed out of it.
           One feels like apologiz-
ing for using the word. But spirit
is the only intelligible word we
have to express what we mean by
"pep" and loyalty and patriotism
and  the latest of Shakesperean
slang-' wallop."
  Undercurrent thought and talk
around the university these days
is concerned a great deal with Wis-
consin Spirit and the apparent
lack of it. When a debate is poor-
ly attended, when a senior class
meeting falls flat, when organiza-
tions and individuals put them-
selves first and Wisconsin second,
when students appear indifferent
to important university affairs, a
charge of a lack of Wisconsin
Spirit is vehemently made. Right-
ly so in some cases. It is being
felt keenly among men in the uni-
versity. It is found hard to arouse
interest and difficult to get enough
men in the university to take hold
of things. Counter-attraction and
over-organization  are  given   as
causea. But it is sometimes also
charged that the much heralded
Wisconsin Spirit is a farce afid a
non-entity. These charges may be
all true or they may be partly true.
However, 1 wish to show by means
of a few generalizations and a
brief analysis that the noted Wis-
consin Spirit is not a farce nor a
non-entity. In  a general way     I
hope to show that there is a vital
Wisconsin Spirit here, but that it
is temporarily strangled by a con-
dition and that all that is needed
is a systematic development and re-
juvenation of this spirit, and then
harness it.
  Before proceeding, a definition
of spirit and a brief analysis of the
Wisconsin Spirit will help to make
things more definite. Spirit is an
all-inclusive word covering a mul-
titude of things with various ap-
plications for various situations.
To kill two birds with one stone,
spirit in general and Wisconsin
Spirit in particular can be treated
1. self-activity
2. peculiar ability
3. ardor
4. pervading influen4
5. animating princip
6. state of mind
7. peculiar quality
"Wisconsin Spirit"
2e  progressiveness
le  democracy
  Here we have Wisconsin Spirit
in a fiut-shell. Any one of the
seven  express  this spirit. Only
when we find all seven working to-
gether do we have the full Wis-
consin Spirit. The sum total of
Wisconsin Spirit is service. We
find one or the other of the seven
parts sometimes in some places in

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