Do Gusties shine during summer?

Jonas DoerrOpinions Writer

Fire is hot, water is wet, and Gusties shine. It’s one of the undeniable facts of life. There’s a song written about it, in fact – the Gustie Rouser, which you are probably familiar with. “Gusties will shine tonight,” the famous lyrics go. But is it really true? During the summer, when Gusties are far from St. Peter, do they still shine?

To answer that, we must first know what it means for a Gustie to shine. Few would argue that Gusties glow like fireflies. Perhaps it has occasionally occurred in the shadier chemistry corners of Nobel, but that can’t be the meaning of “Gusties will shine.” More likely, it’s a kind of abstract shining. Much like how a radioactive block of uranium contaminates everything around it, Gusties inevitably fill everyone around them with zesty Gustie spirit.

If Gusties shone during the summer then there would be something of a radioactive trail left behind. It would be clear as to whether Gusties shine or not during summer by looking at the impact they have on others. For example, at the summer camp I worked at, my Gustie-ness couldn’t help bursting out of me. As much as I tried to pretend to be normal (in more ways than one), I couldn’t help myself. I had to shine. I taught campers the Gustie Rouser. Soon it spread like wildfire, shining as it burned down the forest. Cabins of campers would ask me to sing the song with them even though they barely knew what a Gustie was. This is obvious evidence of one Gustie shining, but does this also occur to other Gusties?

Junior Anna Stednitz says she definitely shone. She says, “By always having my trusty flashlight, I shone this summer.” It seems that she couldn’t contain her Gustie pride, albeit at great electrical cost. Junior Mitch Leschensky also shone this summer. Working at Leader Creek Fisheries in Alaska, he brought Gustie Spirit to both Alaskan people and salmon alike. The next time you enjoy Friday salmon in the Caf, it might be a fish already familiar with Gustie spirit thanks to Mitch. When you wield your fork and knife with Gustie vigor, that salmon will not be surprised. Senior Maddy Himmer shone brighter than a neon green gym shirt this summer. Not only did she represent Gustavus by singing with the choir at a Twins game, and not only did she teach people the Rouser, she also broke into spontaneous song at a bar, singing the Rouser with two Gustie alumni.

These examples would lead us to believe that Gusties really are shining when they are away from Gustavus. However, what about all the times when Gusties do not shine? When they fail to let their Golden Gustie roots shine through, should they feel guilty? Isn’t it doing the world a great disservice whenever we do not shine?

It seems nearly impossible to shine all the time. I, for one, don’t have enough Gustavus merchandise to wear it every day, unless I wanted to introduce my friends to some new aromas. It becomes annoying to shout out the Rouser too often. There will be moments when Gusties will blend in with the crowd and could be mistaken for anyone else – even a U of M student!

There will be those moments for nearly every one of us, but do not let yourself become disheartened. Even when Gusties are lounging on a couch, they can still exemplify our core pillars of excellence, community, justice, service and faith. There’s no need to be shining all of the time. Just as a light that was never turned off would soon burn out, a Gustie who never stopped shining would soon burn themselves out.

Instead, we can remember the lyrics to the rouser: “Gusties will shine tonight!” Not all of the time, but tonight. When things get dark, Gusties shine. When the gyro station closes thirty seconds before you get there, Gusties still shine. When you have 42 essays and a take-home test to do in one weekend, Gusties still shine. When you realize you made it through your whole summer without singing the Rouser even one time, don’t worry – Gusties still shine.

Times might get dark this upcoming school year at Gustavus. They have before, and they will again; the day can only last so long. But when darkness falls on Gusties, it rarely stays dark, because we are able to shine. We can fight through long odds and succeed. Let your smiles shine bright and your lives shine brighter, Gusties.

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