Skyhawk fans will be able to enjoy some changes at athletic events starting with this Thursday’s UTM versus Cumberland University home game.
Two hours before the Skyhawk kickoff Thursday, from 4:30-6:30 p.m., the endzone next to the scoreboard will be open for students to bring food, grills, coolers filled with non-alcoholic drinks, corn hole boards and other tailgating supplies into the game. Also before kickoff, from 5:30-6 p.m., students will have an opportunity to have their pictures taken with Captain Skyhawk at the Captain Skyhawk PhotoBooth. At 6:10 p.m., FYI students will meet their PEP leaders to form a student tunnel for the football players to pass through as they enter the field.
Students will also be encouraged to sit on the away side of the football stadium, which will now be called “The Nest.” The Nest will allow the UTM marching band and student organizations to have their own seating section. Student organizations will have sections where they will be able to fly their organization flags and hang banners.
Students are encouraged to decorate themselves with paint,Skyhawk fan gear and plenty of school spirit in order to win the “Captain’s Craziest Fan Contest.” Students can send in pictures of themselves in all of their best game-day gear, via Twitter and Instagram (@utmsports). Winners will see their pictures on the scoreboard big screen during the games.
All of these changes are being made by the students, for the students, thanks to the Student Engagement Committee headed by Julio Friere, director of Athletics, and Lora McDonald, assistant athletics director for corporate sponsorship. The Student Engagement Committee consists of various faculty, alumni and students from campus organizations. Groups and organizations such as SGA, Greek Life, Housing, Sodexo, student organizations and PEP leaders, were all asked to be involved with the committee.
“Student engagement will be at its best when the ideas come from the student body and not from our administration. This administration will try just about anything students want,” Friere said.
Friere and his staff are willing to do whatever they can to increase the fan base for UTM athletics. This is just the beginning. More changes will be coming as the football season progresses and other sports begin their seasons.
“Part of the mission of the Athletics Department is to enhance the experience of the entire campus community and alumni base,” Friere said.