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Photo: Serena Sodhi

This year’s Panda Game drew a crowd of close to 18,000, however, because of poorly-scheduled midterms, many students couldn’t attend. 

There have been displays set up in the campus bookstore, multiple tweets from the official University of Ottawa handle as well as flyers and contests to give away tickets.

For certain classes, professors are allowed to schedule midterms on Saturdays, however no exception was made this year for the Panda Game. Because of this, while some students covered themselves in garnet and grey to cheer on the Gee-Gees, other students were faced with a dreaded midterm.

The Panda Game is a missed opportunity on the part of the university to create a homecoming-like atmosphere and give students the chance to show off their Gee-Gees pride.

Homecoming at the University of Western Ontario, for example, is a chance for graduates to return and reconnect with fellow students while also providing a wide variety of entertainment for those who aren’t crazy about football.

This isn’t to say a sporting event should come before academics, but a lot of a student’s best experiences will happen outside of the classroom.

University is so much more than taking tests and handing in assignments.

How many times in your life can you hate another school solely because they’re the other school in town? The Panda Game is a chance to stand by your school and make lifelong memories. Events like the Panda Game also increase the sense of community within an academic institution, which ultimately improves the student experience.

If the Panda Game is going to be built up as an important school event, then the university needs to stand by that message, rather than giving mixed signals.

There needs to be a unified message about the Panda Game, either it’s a big school event similar to Western’s homecoming ceremonies or it’s just another football game.

To some, becoming engaged in university beyond a classroom environment is important, and football is so much more than just a game.