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Once upon a time, about one year ago, Drake came to Ryerson. It was stunning, and thrilling and almost sounds too good to be true.
Except now we aren’t allowed to forget about it.
It was hard to walk around campus last week without feeling Drake’s overwhelming presence. Stylized sixes could be found throughout the Week of Welcome events held by the Ryerson Students’ Union. The week included the #6FestPopUp concert, which immediately incited eager whispers across the student body when it was announced there would be a surprise guest (it wasn’t Drake). Drake is even on the cover of the free agenda given to students by the RSU.
It seems Ryerson has embraced Drake just as Drake has embraced Toronto. Drake is now Ryerson’s brand.
Being known as “the Toronto school that Drake likes” is certainly a step up from the old days of “Rye High.” And his two appearances these last few years have been great for school spirit, giving students an easy excuse to boast about and take pride in Ryerson. It has been fun watching Drake and Ryerson form this relationship.
But we need to strive for more. Ryerson must form an identity outside of Drake.
Students should be able to take pride in all aspects of campus life. They should be satisfied with the quality of their education; they should want to get involved in the Ryerson community; they should care about their school enough that they’re informed on what’s going on.
And when future students receive that inevitable, thinly-veiled look of contempt from someone who has just found out they’ll be attending Ryerson, I want them to be able to stand up for themselves.
If I were to ask you what Ryerson was, what we stand for as a school, would you be able to answer without mentioning Drake? I’m not sure that I could.
It’s time to think about what it means to be a Ryerson student, what needs to change for us to be better and how we can keep growing as a community.
Because, eventually, Drake will stop showing up. And then who will we be?