Student spirit group gears up for game day

New organization looks to create energy, atmosphere at TCF Bank Stadium.

On a game day at TCF Bank Stadium, expect to be greeted by student super-fans looking to help you find your seat. Expect to see more of these super-fans leading cheers in the student section. A new student group, We areâĦMinnesota Sportsmanship Council, recently formed with the goal of increasing fan participation at games. The group is currently recruiting students to help direct fans around and inside the stadium âÄî called âÄúFan AmbassadorsâÄù âÄî as well as pump up fans during the game. Organizers said, compared to other Big Ten game days, the University of Minnesota was missing a large organization for student fans. Brittany Geissler, co-chair of the student group, said they want to create new traditions and bring back some old ones. As far as the organizationâÄôs advisor Mandi Watkins Soderlund knows, there has not been an organization like this since the Gophers played at Memorial Stadium, though she said the âÄúBarnyardâÄù âÄî a group of Gopher basketball super-fans âÄî could be the most similar. âÄúThe University is excited about the potential to have really enthused fans and have Gopher spirit at its peak when the stadium opens this fall,âÄù she said. Geissler said anyone in the group who was causing problems, like underage drinking, would not be asked back. She mentioned perks of the group being early admission and prime seating, things she thought would deter unruly behavior. âÄúThere are benefits to being in this program, and if you cannot follow the rules, you cannot receive the benefits,âÄù Geissler said. The student group is hoping to have between 45 and 60 permanent Fan Ambassadors and 20 students who volunteer for one game, called Honorary Fan Ambassadors. Fan Ambassadors will have to go through a short training where they will learn things like behind-the-scenes operations at the stadium, tailgating locations and answers to other possible questions fans could ask. The group will also have a section inside TCF Bank Stadium where members will start cheers and try to get the crowd involved. âÄúWhen people come to start their own organization, they are looking to fill a need that they see,âÄù Erich Martin, senior activities adviser, said regarding potential issues the group could encounter when recruiting for a new student organization. For a student organization to be approved there must be five members. They also have to fill out a registration form and create a constitution, Martin said. The organization received funding from the student unions and athletics for their first year of operation, Soderlund said, however the group will have to find a more permanent funding solution for the coming years. The group is also looking to expand participation to all other sports, but their first order of business is being ready on opening day at TCF Bank Stadium. âÄú(The new stadium) is an opportunity to increase pride,âÄù Geissler said. âÄúWe want to use this to our advantage.âÄù