#OneTeam: How Penn State’s Respective Student Sections Are Coming Together
It doesn’t matter which Penn State sporting event you’re at — you can almost always count on an energetic, intimidating home-field advantage created by one of the school’s student section organizations.
Hockey’s Roar Zone, basketball’s Legion of Blue, men’s soccer’s Sons of Jeffery, women’s soccer’s Park Avenue Army, baseball’s Cooper’s Town, football’s Nittanyville, and volleyball’s wRECking Crew all co-exist as Penn State’s recognized student section organizations.
“There really wasn’t any kind of existing relationship there between our groups,” Roar Zone president Chris Godissart said. “The idea never popped into my head to reach out to other groups, get to know them more, work with them.”
There’s no denying the spirit of Penn State fans involved with these specific organizations. Yet, besides a few super-involved students over the years crossing organizations, there has been little direct collaboration between these student sections. This year, that status quo has changed.
Many Executive Board members for each organization began communicating this past summer in hopes of instilling a never-before-seen cooperation among every student section. The idea, dubbed #OneTeam, has already enabled student fans to become more involved and well-rounded Penn State fans.
“For years, the student sections at Penn State were all separate entities,” Legion of Blue Treasurer Andrew Flatley said. “We realized that if we all joined together, it would give us a greater opportunity to impact all the teams around campus.”
Matt Richards, a senior who is the president of the wRECking Crew, barely knew about the other student sections before this change in attitude. “I had no idea who led most of them or what the sections did besides cheer for their respective teams. The section relationships prior to this effort were never negative or competitive, but they were nowhere near as constructive and positive as they could have been, and have since become with this increased communication.”
It hasn’t just been executives and fans playing a part in this transformation. Loren Crispell, Director of Marketing for the Penn State Athletic Department, is loving what he’s seeing from the students.
“We in the athletic department really love these kids. They are a marketer’s dream,” Crispell said. “The level of collaboration and cooperation that we’ve seen already this year is truly admirable, and I think the department, the coaches, the athletes, and other fans are all grateful to have their passion for our teams displayed together.”
Crispell and the Athletic Department’s cooperation and support has made a lasting impact. For the executives, communication between the students and Crispell has been better than ever.
“LC [Crispell] and the marketing department do an incredible part of aiding each of our student sections. They help provide us with what we need and will work with any idea we come to them with,” Nick Malizia said. Malizia is an embodiment of #OneTeam, as Vice President of Legion of Blue and social media manager for both Cooper’s Town and wRECking Crew.
Senior Legion of Blue President Greg Zelinske echoed Malizia. “The amount of resources they supply to us, along with the amount of time spent with us on planning events is astounding. This doesn’t even include everything they already do with advertising specific sports across campus and across the commonwealth,” he said.
Zelinske, Malizia, Flatley, and others have already spent several nights out with the wRECking Crew, Sons of Jeffery, and Park Avenue Army during their respective organizations’ off seasons. The effort from these executives and their members to support teams that are in season now has included anything from spreading the word about games, social media promotion, and attending the games themselves.
“Collaborating with the other sections has already allowed the in-season sports to reap plenty of benefits, and I couldn’t be more excited and appreciative,” said, Alex Trias, Sons of Jeffery Secretary, Park Avenue Army Social Media Manager, and Legion of Blue Officer. “The wRECking Crew, Sons of Jeffrey, and Park Avenue Army have had greater turnouts as a result of the #OneTeam movement because of the efforts by the people from other student sections that aren’t in season to promote all of these fall games.”
As the fall sports seasons hit conference play and winter sports prepare to tip off, expect to see this combined support for all Penn State teams grow. #OneTeam may be a newer concept, but it is definitely here to stay.
Want to know more about #OneTeam or how to get involved with Penn State student sections? Attend a game or look for them on social media.