New student section takes off

By on September 29, 2008

By Billy Garland

Last week marked the first meeting of a new University of Louisville initiative to improve school spirit.

The aptly named “Nest” initiative has been formed through a three way partnership between the U of L Athletics Department, the Student Government Association and the University President’s Office. The purpose of the effort, according to their most recent agenda, is to “promote school spirit through the student body for all of the university’s athletic endeavors.

w The Nest will give students the opportunity to demonstrate their spirit for their university. It will bring students together and make their experience at athletic events a more enjoyable one.”

While not a part of the “Pack the Parks” effort which focused on men’s and women’s soccer, the intent is essentially the same: to promote U of L Athletics.

Major proponent of the initiative and SGA Student Athletics Director Trevor Joelson said the group wants to help improve student spirit without pressuring students for involvement.

“‘The Nest’ is not just a group, we want to be an entity,” Joelson said. “We want to build a platform for greater student pride.”

Students involved are encouraged, but not obligated, to attend athletic events of all 21 varsity sports regularly. There are no established attendance or involvement requirements, and having season tickets is not a necessity. Joelson said there would be incentives for students to be apart of “The Nest.”

A points system has been put in place with varying values on student attendance and involvement records. The points earned will go toward prizes, such as Adidas clothing, tickets to future sporting events, Best Buy gift cards or exclusive meet and greets with Cardinal Athletes.

As the group’s purpose statement says, “The Nest” is open to any and all students.

“‘The Nest’ is free and I want to encourage all students to join,” Zach Brooks, marketing representative for the university athletics department, said. “I want to see all the bleacher’s packed.”

“The Nest” is tentatively scheduled to meet approximately six times a year, and attendance is voluntary. Leaders hope to have U of L coaches and athletes attend the event as guest speakers.

Students can get involved by logging onto www.uoflsports.com/studentspirit and clicking the link marked “The Nest Sign up Form.” Updates concerning sporting events as well as “Nest” meeting dates are being communicated through e-mail as the schedule is still “fluid”, as Joelson puts it.

“We are using e-mail to keep everyone updated,” Joelson said. “Our main goal is creating unity between students and athletics.”

“The Nest” will continue its drive to build student pride with three games this weekend. Fans are encouraged to wear red and black at the women’s soccer game vs. Connecticut Friday at 7 p.m. The group will also be represented at volleyball home match against Notre Dame at 2 p.m. and the men’s soccer game against St. Johns at 7 p.m.

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