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Students anticipate pep rally venue

Sam Stryker | Tuesday, March 30, 2010

After multiple pep rallies took place on Irish Green last year, some students say the door remains open for a change of venue.

Student body president-elect Catherine Soler and vice president-elect Andrew Bell said they are operating on behalf of the student body to produce the best football weekend experience possible.

“We’re working very hard to collaborate with the Athletic Department, the University and Game Day Operations to ensure a pep rally experience that is exciting for students and energizing for campus this fall,” Soler said.

Soler said the venues for pep rallies next year have yet to be determined.

“As soon as we have solid plans, we’ll let you know,” she said.

Director of Game Day Operations Mike Seamon said in an e-mail to The Observer that plans for next year’s pep rallies have not been finalized. He said the Athletic Department and Football Program will begin to engage in discussions concerning venue choice with Soler and Bell soon.

Student body president Grant Schmidt said he feels students generally do not support Irish Green as a location for pep rallies.

“Last year it was evident that students were not going to attend the pep rallies at Irish Green,” he said.

Schmidt said by not having strong student attendance, the integrity of the pep rally is being compromised.

“We’re really losing a lot of tradition,” he said. “It’s one of our key football traditions that is being lost.”

Schmidt said while students should be the focal attendees of the pep rallies, they are not demanding total control of the events.

“There’s several groups you have to cater to, but the number one group should be student body,” he said. “We’re not saying it has to be student only, but it needs to get everyone fired up. It can’t be commercialized. It needs to be authentic.”

Some students echoed Schmidt’s sentiments. Freshman Patty Walsh said Irish Green was not a conducive environment for student excitement.

“I thought the pep rallies on Irish Green were disappointing because the student body makes the atmosphere strong,” she said. “The venue should be focused towards the students.”

Sophomore Ellen Kozelka said the distance of the venue discouraged the more casual football fan from attending.

“It’s hard enough to motivate myself to get to pep rallies in general, let alone drag myself all the way to Irish Green. I’d compromise if they were all on South Quad,” she said.

Freshman Madison Hagen said the commercial atmosphere of the venue also detracted from the true purpose of the event.

“It was like a carnival with all the tents, food and families,” she said. “It felt more like social entertainment than a tool to invigorate the student body.”

Junior Ian Heraty said he felt the pep rallies on Irish Green lacked one of their most crucial elements — noise.

“Pep rallies aren’t as loud on Irish Green,” he said.

In order to help enact what seems to be the desire of the majority of students in terms of pep rally venue, Soler and Bell said they are planning to involve as many areas of student government as possible.

“This is going to be an effort not just of our branch of student government, but also Hall President’s Council which has traditionally planned pep rallies,” Soler said.

Bell also said no matter what happens, the duo hopes to host an event similar to the student-only pep rally that took place before the Michigan away game last year.

“One of our main goals is to host a student-only sendoff pep rally,” he said. “We really feel this environment is exciting for students and players alike, and we hope to experience it again.”