The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

No shortage of spirit for SJU Senior

Brendan+Eugene%2C+center%2C+was+elected+president+of+RedZone+in+April.+%28Photo+Credit%3A+Facebook%2FBrendan+Eugene%29
Brendan Eugene, center, was elected president of RedZone in April. (Photo Credit: Facebook/Brendan Eugene)

Brendan Eugene, center, was elected president of RedZone in April. (Photo Credit: Facebook/Brendan Eugene)

Brendan Eugene, center, was elected president of RedZone in April. (Photo Credit: Facebook/Brendan Eugene)

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If you told Brendan Eugene three years ago that he’d be running the official student fan group of St. John’s University, RedZone, he himself wouldn’t have believed you.

Eugene, a 20-year-old senior from Bay Shore, NY, was a self-described shy freshman as he began school at St. John’s in 2013.

“From my freshman year, I was fairly shy. I didn’t particularly care enough to get involved in a whole lot. I spent the better part of my freshman year in my room,”  Eugene said in an interview with The Torch. “I would go to a game here and there and I had basketball season tickets so I’d go to those. If I was told about a RedZone event I would go to those, but I didn’t know anything.”

During the latter half of his freshman year, Eugene decided to get more involved in on-campus activities. At that time, RedZone drew the majority of his attention.

One year later, Eugene interviewed for an open co-chair position, but failed to impress due to his lack of knowledge of the St. John’s campus. It was then that he realized his path with RedZone could go one of two ways.

“You kind of start to make a choice there,” Eugene said. “I’m either going to stop altogether or I’m going to fight harder and see if I can get another shot. So, we went with door number two.”

By junior year, Eugene secured a co-chair position on the RedZone committee and was in charge of putting together road trips for numerous sporting events. His assent within the group continued when he was appointed President of RedZone this past April.

Now in his final year with the group, Eugene has had the opportunity to reflect on some of the most memorable moments that he’s had as a member of the student fan group. Between the giveaways, road trips and relationships that Eugene has built, he along with his six co-chairs have helped mold RedZone into one of the most recognizable student clubs on campus.

Eugene noted that there are currently 20 to 30 general body members, but the group never has any less than 50 members cheering on the Johnnies at any given event.

“There are people that come to games that don’t necessarily help us at our events,” Eugene said. “Those we’ve been seeing a rise in. I’m very proud of that. We’ve always managed to get a strong student section for every game.”

RedZone’s presence extends beyond just the sporting events. They have participated in Johnny Con, SJU Fest and are hoping to get involved in this year’s Winter Carnival.

“It’s not just necessarily barbecues and just T-shirt giveaways, we do other things where we want to encourage not just school spirit of athletics but school spirit and our traditions,” Eugene said.

While not being the main focus of RedZone, the T-shirt giveaways are great way for the group to connect with students on campus. In fact one of their most notable giveaways was last year’s ‘Stormed Up’ men’s basketball T-shirt promotion, which was submitted by a St. John’s student.

“That’s something I always encourage with RedZone. That’s why it’s so memorable. The openness,” Eugene said. “You can submit a design and it can end up on a shirt and you can end up getting publicity for it.”

Every RedZone President focuses on one thing they want to accomplish. Eugene is making sure they increase their membership to include all students, even the shy freshman that he can relate to.

“People will forget what you yelled, they’ll forget what you gave them and they’ll even forget if you melted cheese on their burger. But they will never forget how they felt in that section. The way the section felt, it made me feel like something I wanted to be a part of.”

“The general goal for me this year is if even one more student can say, ‘It was because of RedZone that I felt comfortable. The people in RedZone made me feel comfortable, made me want to be here, made me want to cheer.’ That’s enough for me.”

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The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University
No shortage of spirit for SJU Senior