True Blue starts off year with a bash
Published: Friday, August 31, 2012
Updated: Monday, November 5, 2012 20:11
A live DJ, dance party, free pizza and dizzy bat. This was the scene at the first ever True Blue Bash on Tuesday.
Two UB student athletes – Carissa McKenna, junior volleyball player and Tony Watson II, senior men’s basketball guard – with their respective teammates, coaches and True Blue club members orchestrated the event.
Over the summer, the duo worked as interns for the Department of External Relations under Paul Hutchings, the manager of University Awareness and Special Events in the Division of Athletics, and were given the task of coming up with an event they would start at the beginning of the semester.
They used it as an opportunity to get the students and athletes together in a fun, interactive way. They wanted to re-establish a communal bond, according to McKenna.
“We just really want to show strong support for on-campus clubs and activities,” McKenna said. “We really wanted to show that it’s not just True Blue out there supporting athletes, but that the athletes are right out here supporting True Blue. UB is an awesome school and we just want to give it everything we have.”
Over the past few years, True Blue has grown to become the largest club on campus. The club’s size led it to focus more on promotional marketing, as opposed to its original goal of connecting with the general student population, according to True Blue President Vincent Buttimer.
“We want to host events that will reconnect our organization, as well as our athletes back with the rest of the student body here at UB,” Buttimer said.
He hopes that organizing events like the True Blue Bash will bring the organization “back to its roots” and help them blur the line between the general student body and the athletic student body.
Watson, a True Blue club member and a student athlete, has the same goal and states that he’s here to get the word out that True Blue is on campus and is striving to personalize the relationships between students and athletes.
“We’re all students here, there’s no separate classes or anything, we’re all equal in UB colors,” Watson said. “Come support athletics because they will end up being some of the best memories you’ll get in college. Support your fellow students.”
The event ran from 7 to 9 p.m. outside of Alumni Arena and featured a live DJ, free pizza and games – including a Mummy Wrap competition and a Frozen Tee contest, where students competed against the athletes to don a frozen tee shirt the fastest – as well as very competitive games of Kan Jam throughout the night.
Women’s basketball team head coach Felisha Legette-Jack and men’s basketball head coach Reggie Witherspoon were also in attendance, pumping up the crowd. Events like this are a great way to bring the students together and spread awareness of everything that goes on at UB, according to Legette-Jack.
“There are no such things as regular students; they all became a part of the UB family when they walked through those doors,” Legette-Jack said. “We need each other. Without our student support, our fan base, we just can’t perform the way we need to.”
In order to ensure the presence of students at future True Blue events, the club is implementing a points and reward system. True Blue members set up an event sign-in table, where student body members received an official member key tag. These all have an individualized number sequence, which acts as a point-tracking system.
For every True Blue sponsored event, participants can scan their cards to accumulate points, which can be used for free merchandise.
“The event definitely boosts pride, but the first big [football] game is where the school pride is born,” said Dylan Yorks, freshman undecided major.
Buttimer believes the bash was a rousing success.
At the end of the event, True Blue Secretary Jordan Tartaglia tallied the number of key tags that had been given out. A total of 185 key tags were given out to students. This doesn’t include the number of athletes, coaches, True Blue members, and additional staff, which adds 200 more participants.
True Blue e-board member Sarah Reed invited everyone in the student body who is interested to be a part of the True Blue experience. She invited supporters to attend the True Blue Tailgating session on Sept. 8 in honor of Buffalo’s first home football game.
“It’s a blast and you won’t be disappointed,” Reed said. “There will be tons of games people can play, food and drinks, and it’s definitely going to be a fun time.”
Legette-Jack summarized the mentality of the True Blue Bash in her final words: “Bring it together, one voice, one vision, one family. We bleed True Blue.”