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Students react to pep rally format changes

Theresa Civantos | Friday, September 4, 2009

South Quad, Stepan Center and Notre Dame Stadium are a few of the planned locations for this year’s pep rallies, which will be very different from those of years past – and not just because they’re moving around campus.

“We’re going to keep them short,” said student body president Grant Schmidt. “The Band will play and pump everyone up, the team will come in, there will be one speaker, a couple cheers, and it’s done.

“Thirty minutes of everyone yelling, screaming, high-fiving each other: That’s back to the core of a solid pep rally.”

Students say a shortened pep rally is a relief after the two-hour rallies of previous years.

“People don’t want to sacrifice two hours on a Friday, and people definitely don’t want to stand there for two hours,” said senior Leslie Vaughn. “It’s smart to make it shorter.”

Despite the excitement of a shortened pep rally, students are apprehensive about some of the planned locations.”

With eight pep rallies occurring this season, four will be held at Irish Green, south of the DeBartolo Performing Arts Center. Tents and activities will be set up from 3 to 7 p.m. on Fridays, concluding with the 6:30 p.m. pep rally, and be open Saturday mornings until game time.

In addition to Irish Green, one pep rally will be held in Stepan Center, one in Notre Dame Stadium, one in Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center and tonight’s Dillon Hall pep rally will be on South Quad.

But the Irish Green location is unprecedented.

“I’m not sure if outside pep rallies will work,” sophomore Sarah Teising said. “And I had never heard of Irish Green before.”

Schmidt said student government is uncertain about the success of the Irish Green pep rallies.

“It’s not that much farther than the JACC, but walking to the JACC you pass by the stadium, you pass by Touchdown Jesus, you get pumped,” he said. “You don’t have that walking to Irish Green. Plus people don’t really know where it is.”

Meanwhile, pep rally planners hope for strong student support throughout the season.

“In order for a pep rally to be a true pep rally, it needs to have students,” Schmidt said. “I remember visiting Notre Dame as a sophomore in high school and I was just in awe of the students – their spirit and excitement.”

A key part of the pep rally experience is involving alumni and campus visitors as well as students, Schmidt said.

But it’s just not a pep rally without enthusiastic student involvement.

“The most important aspect of a pep rally is to remind the Notre Dame football team that the student body is behind them,” Schmidt said.