The bureaucracy at the University of Texas has been facetiously compared with North Korea. As a public university, there are strict regulations with regards to many aspects of student life, health, record keeping, research, privacy, etc.
Out of curiosity, and because I was still on campus yesterday evening, I decided to attend the new student event, “Gone to Texas“. Um, the North Korea comparison wasn’t far off. Spirit, excellence and pride were used to foster a sense of group belonging. The students gave an oath to abide by the honor code by raising their hands in the “hook ’em horns” gesture. The spectacle of the marching band performing in front of a giant Texas flag and the main tower lit in orange was intended to illicit an almost overwhelming emotional response. As I left, the band and the crowd of freshmen students were exchanging chants of “Texas! Fight! Texas! Fight!”
So while I’m weirded out by the North Korea vibe, I’m also brought back to my roots. My father went to UT for law school and has been a Longhorn ever since. Marching band was an important part of my life for 8 years, 4 of those as a Longhorn. I don’t look particularly good wearing burnt orange, but I have been conditioned to associate that color with pride. And home.
Maybe this is how East Germans feel when they talk about “Ostalgie”…