Giveaways raise interest in SJU basketball

Over the course of the men’s and women’s basketball season, St. John’s has offered its fans giveaways to attend games. These have come in the form of t-shirts, MetroCards, movie tickets, meals, and transportation to and from Madison Square Garden for the $5 cover price of a ticket at the Campus Concierge station.

The University has offered numerous promotions to its fans attending athletic events in the past, such as t-shirts or banners, but many students said the increase in the quantity of giveaways this year has provided an extra incentive to attend games.

“At the beginning of the season when they didn’t have the giveaways, I wouldn’t have thought to go to a basketball game, but because they did, it gave me a reason to go,” said freshman Jennifer Curtis.

Sophomore James Barnard also said he has noticed a renewed student intrest in attending St. John’s basketball games because of the additional freebies.

“I think people didn’t go to the games because the team is [struggling], but people are going to start coming to games [because of the incentives],” he said.

Darren Morton, assistant vice president of Student Affairs, said the decision to provide giveaways for attending St. John’s basketball games at MSG and Carnesecca Arena was made to get students more involved with University athletic events.

“We determined that providing incentives and creating a vibrant experience for our students to interact with one another would also create an opportunity for students to experience one of St. John’s oldest traditions,” he said.

Morton also said that there is no correlation between the giveaways and the current state of the University’s basketball program.

“As the University community, we continuously look for ways to support that tradition and encourage student engagement,” he said. “This effort is just one example of our commitment to fostering school spirit and student support of our athletic traditions.”

The current plan is to continue monitoring the effect the incentives have on St. John’s basketball home games and eventually offer similar enticements for other sporting events throughout the school year, said Morton.

The School Spirit Committee, which is part of SGI, works alongside Student Engagement and RedZone, the University student section, to put the promotions into the hands of students.

Christina Zaccarelli, SGI school spirit chair, said her committee works with volunteer members of SGI to organize the events. They hand out the food, t-shirts, vouchers, and supervise the bus rides to and from Madison Square Garden.

“The entire purpose of the current athletic engagement plan has been to get students out to games so that they can become a part of the St. John’s tradition,” Zaccarelli said. “With that being said, most student interaction that I have personally had has been very positive.”

She also said she saw a noticeably high level of school spirit from students on bus rides to games.

“I have had buses full of students that chant ‘We Are! St. John’s!’ on the way to the game and line up to get their faces painted,” Zaccarelli said.

“I feel like there is a desire for there to be more school spirit on campus and that this is creating an atmosphere for that.”