By Jonathan Smith, Editor in Chief
In one of the last official Students’ Association meetings of the year, Congress devoted its entire meeting not to votes and resolutions but to brainstorming ideas to increase student attendance at university sporting events.
College of Business Administration Building Rep. Paul Harshman, Williams Performing Arts Center Rep. Zach Tabers and chief financial officer Keith Robinson brought this issue before Congress for discussion by listing some of the ideas they had to increase attendance.
“Several of the games were very close,” Harshman said, “and I think having a few more rowdy fans could have helped.”
They said attendance at basketball games during Sing Song dropped even lower than normal because the clubs and classes spend several nights each week practicing their acts.
To encourage clubs to attend basketball games during Sing Song, clubs would have designated sections in Moody Coliseum to sit in, and the loudest club or class could win extra practice time on the Sing Song stage.
They said this was one of several ideas they had discussed with Kendall Massy, director of student productions, and they wanted Congress to comment on it as well as include ideas of its own.
Several members of Congress quickly rejected the idea of using Sing Song practice times, saying it would not be a good enough incentive for many of the groups, and it would only appeal to a small portion of the student body.
“It’s kind of using Sing Song in an inappropriate way,” sophomore Sen. Jake Roseberry said.
Congress then moved on to suggesting other ways it could help increase game attendance.
Senior Sen. Jeffrey Rasco asked members why so many people spent so much money to attend professional sporting events even if the teams were not good.
“It’s because of the atmosphere,” Rasco said, answering his own question. “Make it fun.”
Some ideas to accomplish that goal included having halftime contests with prizes and free giveaways for fans in attendance.
“College students: We love free stuff,” junior Sen. Justin Scott said. “If people know they have an opportunity to get something if they go to the game, that will really help.”
Some members of Congress, although they thought increasing attendance was a noble goal, said a truly successful sporting program is what it would take to increase attendance, not gimmicks-a premise that executive vice president Melanie Booker strongly opposed.
“I don’t care if they’re not the best in our district,” Booker said. “We need to be out there supporting them.”
Roseberry said if SA expects to be successful in increasing game attendance, Congress must get behind the initiative.
“You either have to go all out 100 percent, or it’s going to totally flop,” Roseberry said. “Do all these ideas. Do as many as you can.”
With Congress members still lining up to offer suggestions, COBA Rep. Austin Brennen ended the evening of discussion by reminding Congress to do more than talk.
“We can keep throwing ideas out for another two hours,” Brennen said, “but nothing is going to happen if we don’t get out and do something.”