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First four fall pep rallies planned

Caitlyn Kalscheur | Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Student body president Catherine Soler said student government is working with the University to make football pep rallies “shorter but more exciting” due to some student dissatisfaction with last year’s rallies.

Student body vice president Andrew Bell said student government worked with Game Day Operations, the Athletic Department, football team representatives and Hall Presidents’ Council co-chairs Alexa Doyle and Mike Oliver.

“Our discussion focused on the fact that while all alumni, prospective students and members of the Notre Dame community are welcome to the pep rallies, the students and the football team should be the heart of every rally,” Bell said.

Soler added: “We hope everyone is excited for pep rally season. It’s a collaborative process, so while the students and the players are the focus, everyone can have a good time.”

Soler said first-year Irish football coach Brian Kelly told her he is also excited about improving the pep rallies. She said Kelly want students more involved in creating successful pep rallies.

“We hope that students will see that the pep rally format is different,” Bell said. “Some people were disappointed with pep rallies last year but we hope that they will come to the rallies next year and feel engaged and want to be involved.”

“The biggest changes Soler and Bell are introducing are new venues and new traditions to enhance the energy and overall experience of pep rallies.

“This is the first time that Notre Dame is actively seeking guest speakers for pep rallies,” Soler said. “We want big, exciting people to come and be a part of the experience.”

The first pep rally will be the Dillon Hall pep rally on South Quad. 

“We’re very excited to be back at Dillon, upholding the longstanding tradition,” Bell said, “Last year’s reception and atmosphere were great, but there are ways that it can improve.”

Bell said improvements for the Dillon pep rally would include better visibility, sound quality and a shorter length.

The second pep rally will be outdoors at Irish Green for the Michigan game. Students voiced concerns about the Irish Green pep rallies after disappointment from this past year.

“All of us, including the athletic department, acknowledge that it needs change, but the outdoor pep rally is conducive to a really great atmosphere, similar to the USC pep rally from last year,” Soler said.

She said because of the size of the game and expected crowd attending the pep rally, organizers want to emphasize the students and players.

“The pep rally will be focused around the players’ theme for the week to give the public a better glimpse at what the players are experiencing,” Soler said. “It’s time to start new traditions with the Kelly era.”

One such new tradition, Bell said, will be a student body entrance onto Irish Green. 

“Each dorm will have its own walkover, but they will all meet somewhere like the flagpole on South Quad,” Bell said. “Then everyone will walk down to the pep rally together.”

For the Stanford game, the pep rally will take place for the first time in Purcell Pavilion, reminiscent of the Joyce Center rallies from two years ago.

“We all look back and love the old JACC pep rallies, but they weren’t perfect and students were upset about that,” Bell said.

While the exact details of how everyone will be situated for the Purcell Pavilion rally are not yet determined, Bell said, there won’t be players sitting in the middle of an empty basketball court and students just sitting around it.

Just like last year, there will be a students-only pep rally at Stepan Center for the away game at Boston College. 

“Next year, Coach Kelly and the entire football team will be there,” Soler said. “We’re excited to have the full support of the team at the pep rally.”

Bell said the format for the Stepan rally wouldn’t change much from last year and will include a rowdy atmosphere, loud marching band and the football team.

“We expect that it will be packed,” Bell said.  “Stepan didn’t fill up last year, but everyone that went had a great time.”

Soler and Bell have only planned the first four pep rallies to be able to take into account student feedback after each one before meeting with their group to plan the rest of the season. 

“We’re students too, and we went to last year’s pep rallies and see that they need to be improved,” Bell said. “We feel like we are getting the opportunity to discover the best location, length and format to figure out exactly how to get correct focus on the students and the team.”