Since the beginning of the fall 2015 sports season, the Emerson athletic department has given away T-shirts, tumbler cups, and bleacher cushions to those who attend home games.
Each giveaway item showcases the athletic department’s new logo, which was launched last year.
Patricia Nicol, the athletic director, said that the giveaways expose the department’s new logo and function as ways for the department to both broaden and advertise its brand to the campus community.
“If we do an effective job of enticing people in some way to come [to a game] for the first time, I think they will find it to be a positive experience and want to come back,” said Nicol.
Nicol said that rewarding students with free athletic merchandise is much more than a promotion or a bribe.
“[It’s] a way for us to come together as a college,” Nicol said.
She said that attracting students to games and advertising the department is just the first step.
“It’s a start,” Nicol said. “My plan is for interest and enthusiasm to grow over the course of time and to make coming to the athletic events a fun experience.”
Women’s volleyball captain Jules Augustine, a junior, said that the giveaways especially attract new students to games.
“The freshmen most times don’t really know about us,” said Augustine, a journalism major. “And honestly I think it helped [with game attendance].”
Augustine said that, from a student-athlete perspective, the giveaways will help bring together Emerson’s students.
“It will give us a common entity,” Augustine said. “I think it will help crowd morale.”
JB Hunt, a sophomore visual and media arts major, agreed that the giveaways will introduce the athletics department to students who may not have been interested in it before.
“I think that there are two sub-communities within Emerson,” said Hunt. “One is everyone [and] one is the athletes, [and] I think that’s something that should change.”
Hunt, an avid Emerson athletics fan, agreed that the free merchandise will attract students to games.
“They’ll come down [to the games], get their free stuff, maybe see some of their friends, and maybe it will spark their interest,” said Hunt.
Women’s basketball coach Bill Gould also said the giveaways will impact both the department and the school positively.
“There’s no doubt that if you are walking around with a t-shirt and someone else sees it, they’re going to have a positive reaction and at least be aware that Emerson athletics is around,” Gould said.
Gould said that giving free merchandise to students and promoting sports teams can only bring positivity to campus.
“I think it’s a good marketing tool, so why not?” Gould said. “And if it works, even if it gets a kid interested that might not otherwise be interested, it can’t hurt.”
Nicol had a similar mindset, and said that the department will continue to give merchandise to students and bring attention to athletics at the college.
“I just want all student groups on campus to be respected and valued for their contributions,” said Nicol. “That includes our student-athletes.”