Opinion: Stop Stealing Giveaway Items

St. John’s students taking advantage of RedZone defeats the purpose of giveaways

With basketball season winding down, St. John’s students will look back on the year with mixed emotions. Though much of that can be attributed to the team’s inconsistent play, surely some small victories were earned in the form of giveaway items… right?

For most Johnnies, this is probably true. However, let me provide you with a scenario: a resident student walks across campus to Carnesecca Arena 20 minutes before gates open. One of the first people allowed into the building, he or she makes a beeline for the table distributing student giveaways, shows their stormcard, and receives the item. While they are then expected to take a seat in the student section and support their fellow Johnnies, this student immediately walks out of the arena and returns to their dorm.

The fact of the matter is this: several students abuse free giveaways every single home game. Good for them, I suppose; after all, they were willing to wait outside of Carnesecca Arena to obtain a free t-shirt. But how is that fair to a student who arrives just minutes later and actually stays for the game? How is that fair to someone who is actually displaying school spirit and actively participating in on-campus activities?

Redzone, the school spirit committee of Student Government Inc. (SGi), has clearly been taken advantage of by some of the student body. However, it has not gone unnoticed. 

“It’s quite disappointing for sure, and we are very aware of it as a staff,” said David Diano, the committee chair of RedZone. Diano cited the time and effort that both students and the Athletic Department put into planning gameday events as reasons for their displeasure, but assured that solutions are in the works. “We are going to continue to work to ensure this doesn’t happen in the future and reward our loyal and most passionate student fans who may have missed out on our merchandise or events this year,” Diano added.

But in the overall strategy of creating a stronger home court advantage, its maximum effects are simply not being reached. ”

— Connor Richards

Simply put, too many students are visiting rather than attending. Student Government’s allocation of funds to RedZone — and the committee’s care in planning events — is something that makes the St. John’s student section even better, but it is upsetting to see some students act selfishly during what is supposed to be one of the most fun experiences on campus.

That is not to say I am against student giveaways. Frankly, I do not think there are enough on campus considering the cost of tuition. Giveaway items are very tempting to students who would not typically attend a basketball game; in theory, this is one of the best tactics to employ. But in the overall strategy of creating a stronger home court advantage, its maximum effects are simply not being reached.

A potential solution was provided at Feb. 18’s Men’s Basketball home game against Butler. Earlier that day, nearly 100 students had shown up for free pizza and crewnecks as soon as gates opened at noon for the Women’s Basketball game versus Creighton. By 12:20 p.m., there were no pizzas and no crewnecks to be found, and there were far fewer than 100 students in attendance. RedZone fed and outfitted several students, who returned the favor by not supporting Women’s Basketball.

But by the time doors opened for the Men’s Basketball game at 4 p.m., a new process was implemented. While those that arrived early received a slice of pizza as advertised, they were then given a ticket instead of a crewneck. It was then revealed that students who received a ticket could exchange it for their promised crewneck at halftime of the game.

Though the scene at halftime in Carnesecca Arena’s lobby was hectic, this procedure forced students in pursuit of this hot ticket item (pun intended) to stay for at least half of the event. In being exposed to such a fun, exciting first half, those students may have even felt inclined to stay for the rest of the game.

At the end of the day, Redzone and the St. John’s Athletic Department could simply look at the attendance statistics and assume student turnout is fine. However, in attending nearly every home game at Carnesecca Arena so far this season, I have witnessed — and fallen victim to — this frustrating occurrence too many times.

So if you partake in this, let’s put an end to it. We are New York’s team, and the Johnnies’ uptempo style of play feeds off of fan turnout. Claim the giveaways, grab a seat in the student section and take part in Big East basketball.