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Last pep rally set for Irish Green

Laura McCrystal | Friday, November 20, 2009

Although the last pep rally of the 2009 football season was tentatively scheduled to be held in the new Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center, it will be held today at Irish Green, Director of Gameday Operations Mike Seamon said.

This decision has caused frustration and disappointment this week within student government and among members of the student body, student body president Grant Schmidt said.

“A lot of us are very frustrated that it’s not at Purcell Pavilion like we were told,” Schmidt said. “Some people might say that it’s just a pep rally, but I honestly believe that at Notre Dame it is a lot more”

Seamon said the decision to hold the pep rally at Irish Green came after the football team decided to honor the senior players and their parents in the Stadium before kickoff on Saturday rather than during Friday’s pep rally. 

“We tentatively aimed for the Joyce Center and the reason for this was … we were going to do the announcement of the senior players and their parents,” he said. “And if we were going to do that we were going to do it inside.

“Once that got moved outside and we saw that there was going to be good weather this weekend we decided to have [the pep rally] outside.”

Notre Dame Leprechaun Dan Collins said he encourages students to come to the last pep rally of the season at Irish Green, especially to show support for the senior football players.

“The rallies for the home opener and Michigan and SC were all really successful because the students showed up and their spirit really drives the pep rallies,” he said. “To honor [the seniors] would be a good way to show solidarity between all the students and celebrate the Notre Dame spirit, so I encourage them to do that.”

Schmidt said when he learned of the location of the pep rally earlier this week, he expressed his concern and disappointment in an e-mail to Seamon.

“You ask any student, and a pep rally is a key tradition that we’ve had,” he said. “But I can tell you that unfortunately, according to what students have told me, is that there will not be a big student response to the Irish Green.”

Seamon said Irish Green has been a positive atmosphere for pep rallies this season. 

“We feel it’s been a really good place,” Seamon said. “We’ve had all kinds of rallies out there and we feel it’s a good spot and the team feels it’s a good spot so we’re all on board with it so we hope the students come out and support the seniors.”

Schmidt said Seamon and Gameday Operations have made many positive changes this season, such as improving relations between fans, ushers and police and allowing fans to walk through the tunnel on Friday afternoons before home games.

“But I think the pep rallies are another huge part of it and I think they really have faded this year in the eyes of the students,” he said. “My job as student body president is to be concerned with what the students want.”

But Schmidt said the location of the pep rally is not ultimately in his control.

“At some point we can only do so much,” he said. “I at least want to make it clear that we were frustrated with the fact that it’s not at Purcell Pavillion.”

When pep rallies were held in the Joyce Center in past years, Hall Presidents’ Council (HPC) planned and organized events and activities to entertain students before the start of the pep rally, HPC co-chair Brendan McQueeney said.

“We understood this year with the renovations to the JACC that our role would be diminished, but we thought that we would still have some role,” he said.

McQueeney said the council had looked forward to the final pep rally of the year in Purcell Pavillion because they would be able to hold the role they had in previous years.

“We were anxious to actually fill the role of other HPC co-chairs before us,” he said. “It’s kind of sad that we weren’t able to do it, but it’s out of our hands.”

Many of the hall presidents were disappointed to learn that the pep rally would be at Irish Green because they had been looking forward to returning to the Joyce Center, especially because the freshman have never experienced that setting, McQueeney said.

Schmidt said the concern over the location of the pep rally stems from the fact that pep rallies are important to the Notre Dame student body.

“What’s so unique about Notre Dame is the team is integrated in the student body, and so to me the pep rally is the last opportunity to send off the players into the weekend,” he said. “I think it’s just the overall fact that we’re worried that we could be losing a tradition that we want to make sure we keep.”

Seamon said specifics of the rally at Irish Green will be left up to the football team. The band will enter Irish Green at 6:15 p.m. followed by the team at 6:30 p.m., and the rally will last until 7 p.m. this evening.

“I think that Irish Green has allowed us to adapt to this season, and we’re looking forward to it this Friday,” he said. “I think it will be a good weekend. The weather’s supposed to be decent and I think [the team is] looking forward to it.”

In addition to the pep rally, Collins said it is important to show support for the football seniors when they are honored at the start of Saturday’s game.

“The seniors will be honored before the football game during the pre-game ceremony so I would encourage the students to get to the game on time so they can honor the seniors before it starts as well,” he said.