Having a whole lot of Fun at the “House”

September 26, 2016

The Battle of the Houses brings out the creativity at CIU

By Michael A. Lanier and Bob Holmes

The popular TV show ESPN College Game Day broadcast live from the Columbia International University soccer field on Sept. 24 – well, sort of.

A group of CIU guys from one residence hall went to great lengths to make it look like ESPN was on the scene for CIU men’s and women’s soccer matches against Montreat College. It was part of the “Battle of the Houses” featuring the six residence halls on campus. The Battle generates school spirit as part of the new House Collective concept instituted this year at CIU where freshmen now live alongside upperclassmen. Each residence hall or “House” is named for a virtue (in Latin) and has its own crest and Bible verse associated with its virtue, and is developing its own traditions. Friendly competitions such as the “Battle of the Houses” are being organized throughout the school year.  

In the Battle of the Houses, members of each house created their own cheers, costumes, and wacky ornaments, all while cheering on the Rams soccer teams. 

“There's a lot going on, and it's a lot of fun,” said sophomore Brandon Brazell, of The House of Virtus.

“It's super-cool that people are bringing in their cheers and skills to help the House,” added senior Madison Reke of The House of Veritas.

The demonstrations of spirit by the houses ranged from a chanting of “I believe that we will win” to a trash can drum corps and even more outlandish shows of support for the Rams, including one student who glued cotton balls to herself to imitate a ram.

“It's a cool opportunity to unify our campus and show some school spirit,” said senior Nathan Kyles of The House of Justitia.

Under the House Collective, even faculty and staff have associated with a House.

“Great night! Fierce competition!” said Lainie McWilliams of the Student Life Office who associates herself with The House of Fidelitas.

“Fidelitas is the best!” echoed her husband, Professor Dr. Kevin McWilliams.

Throughout the night, a series of judges graded the houses on their displays of spirit. One of the judges was CIU Chancellor, Dr. George Murray.

“It's really hard to judge,” said Murray, “because each group has their own unique strengths. It's wonderful to see the enthusiasm – and hear it.”

The winning House was The House of Virtus, the students who went all out with the mock ESPN studio, which included theme music to imitate ESPN's SportsCenter and reporters resembling the ESPN broadcast team. Members of the House received a steak dinner as their prize.

“The crazy frenetic energy is amazing!” said junior Max Harding of Sapientia, upon seeing Virtus' ESPN parody. 

Meanwhile on the soccer field, the Rams split, with the women victorious in the first match and the men coming up short in the second.

But much of the night was about unity and school spirit.

“It's a cool way to get the campus together, and to get to know your House,” said sophomore Michaela Warner of The House of Dignitas.

Check out the video, "CIU College Game Day."