What is Queen’s Tricolour Spirit? [updated]

In this photo essay, I try to unpack Queen’s legendary school spirit through my photographs.

I ask: What is the “Tricolour Spirit”?

As a three-time alumnus and current doctoral student, I hold enormous pride for my alma mater.  Queen’s University, located in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, is renowned for its school spirit and traditions. In only a few days, over 3000+ new undergraduates will arrive on this beautiful campus, effectively joining the family of students, grad students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Residence and faculty orientation week soon follow. It not only serves as an induction but also a capstone experience that catapults school spirit into feverish state.

[Update: This post has been viewed over 1200+ times in under 21 hours in 11+ countries. It’s been tweeted 31 times and Facebook shared 58 times. It’s also been picked up by the official Queen’s University social media channels and various campus groups! Thanks for all the love. Keep sharing and keep tweeting. Cha Gheill, Chi]

Class of 2016, Are You Ready?

Is Tricolour Spirit about being decked out in fans gear…

girl cheering…or is it showing off your school pride in every possible way?

Is Tricolour Spirit about being painted in tricolour along with your floormates?

Is Tricolour Spirit about ingenuity in climbing the grease pole…

…or hugging the adorable school mascot, Boo Hoo the Bear?

Is Tricolour Spirit fighting as a golden Queen’s Gael?

… or cheering on the Queen’s Gaels?

… or welcoming froshies in disguise?

Is it being purple?

Is Tricolour Spirit about singing Oil Thigh in a stadium full of 3000+ fellow Gaels…

… or moshing in frosh week…

… or celebrating the end of exams by wearing and slamming your Queen’s jacket proud?

Is Tricolour Spirit about returning to campus, sharing in the glory of winning the Vanier Cup, as a Principal and as a Mayor?

… or, finally, leading frosh week cheers?



The fact is, the Tricolour Spirit is all that…
and more.




Tricolour Spirit is about belonging.

Tricolour Spirit is about being a part of something big.

Tricolour Spirit is about building lifelong friendships.

Tricolour Spirit is about daring to think
and see different(ly).

Tricolour Spirit is sometimes about singing Happy Birthday!

… and getting your hands dirty and having fun.

Tricolour Spirit is about coming home.

Tricolour Spirit is about a thirst for knowledge
the intellectual pursuit that goes with it.

Tricolour Spirit is about dressing up in neon because you feel like it.

Tricolour Spirit is about building memories.

Tricolour Spirit is about perseverance.

Finally, Tricolour Spirit is about being yourself.




Welcome to Queen’s University!



The challenge I have for the incoming Class of 2016: How will you be willing to be shaped by Queen’s? And, how will you shape Queen’s for those who come after you?

PS: If you like what you see, show me some love by sharing it on Facebook, tweeting it to your friends (#TricolourSpirit), and leaving a comment below. I would love to hear your reactions and feedback. Thanks!

PPS: If you know a Queen’s alumni, please consider sending this to him/her! 

All photographs are copyrighted (c) Chi Yan Lam, 2008 – 2012.