Bringing Spirit Back

Three years ago, Bod Squad was the largest student organization on campus, Washburn’s student sections were among the MIAA’s best and opposing teams hated to take the field against the Ichabods.

It’s no coincidence that when the group ceased operations, so did the enthusiasm of going to Lee Arena and Yager Stadium. Unless free shirts were involved, or if Emporia State was in town, there was little motivation to show support.

For the first time since Pat Vogelsberg and Dennis Bohm reluctantly surrendered their titles as Bod Squad’s fearless leaders, students are making a serious effort to bring back the spirit.

“This organization had more members and more support than any other organization at Washburn,” said Billie Jean Bergmann, the president in charge of reviving the Squad. “Our goal is to regain the popularity and student involvement that Bod Squad brought in past years.”

In addition to the group’s comeback, last week’s Bod Blast events pounded the idea of fan support into nearly every incoming freshman’s head, with packed pep rallies and the education of the University’s cheers and traditions.

Student Orientation Counselors (S.O.C.S.) spent all week working with both incoming and returning Ichabods to welcome them on campus for another year of school.

“It’s good to see so much involvement with students welcoming freshman this year,” said Will Lawrence, who worked as a S.O.C and also serves as Greek Council president. “When you have this many people here to introduce them to Washburn, it really encourages them to join organizations themselves.”

By learning about the school’s athletic traditions through Bod Blast, as well as having a way to channel their support with Bod Squad, all students, and especially freshman, have plenty of reason to get pumped up for the upcoming football, volleyball and soccer seasons.

Students will have their first chance to get involved in the 2008-09 school year on Tuesday, when Bod Squad holds its first informational meeting. At 7 p.m. in the LLC lobby, Bergmann will unveil the group’s new shirts and offer students a chance to join for a $10 fee.

“We really expect it to be a success,” Bergmann said. “We already have a sponsorship from Papa John’s, who will be working with us a lot during the basketball season and we’ll also organize tailgate parties before every home football game.”

Although Vogelsberg’s run as the leader Bod Squad ended abruptly years ago, he will still be involved with the newly-formed organization to offer advice on operations, and perhaps more importantly on how to make Pittsbugh State’s football team hate the Ichabod student section once again.

With all three fall sports anticipating postseason births and top four conference finishes for the second straight year, the Ichabod and Lady Blues athletic programs will field competitive teams every weekend for fans to enjoy.

w”There’s a lot of potential for the upcoming year,” Lawrence said. “I think the school’s done a good job of promoting itself to new students before classes start, and now it’s our job to give that support right back and fill the student sections at every game.”