Organization starts to boost student support for athletics


The Pronghorns held their first meeting on April 25. Traeton Harimon / Antelope Staff

Traeton Harimon

A new student organization, The Pronghorns, wants to boost school spirit at UNK athletic events in the future. 

With the support of the UNK athletic department, the organization looks to improve upon the sometimes absent UNK student section.

“We just have a lot of people that have talked to me about, you know, ‘Where’s our student section? Why aren’t we getting more students?’” said UNK Athletic Director Marc Bauer. “So I think this is a great way for our student body on campus to go out and get other people excited about something so they can be a part of UNK athletics.”

The new organization’s name comes from the true identity of what UNK and its students have embraced as their mascot, the Pronghorn, more commonly known as the American antelope.

The idea for The Pronghorns was sparked in the fall when UNK senior Zach Pettit noticed that students were missing out on the fan festivities that can be found at larger universities. 

“A couple of people got together and kind of missed the larger tailgating season that a lot of people see at bigger universities,” Pettit said. “We saw a lot of passion from the students as far as being involved with athletics and having kind of a group atmosphere and something that really pushed them towards you know, going to the game for more than just going to the game.”

With the help of former student body president Emily Saadi, Pettit started working toward starting an official student organization. Including reaching out to Bauer.

“Marc Bauer got really interested in seeing that and kind of remembered some of the days before where several students had kind of started something similar,” Pettit said. “We really just kind of started getting things rolling on the constitution and getting all the paperwork together to get it done.”

The organization will draw inspiration from similar student spirit organizations like the Creighton University Blue Crew, founded in 2004 to help boost school spirit. Also providing inspiration is the Kearney High School “Rowdies.” 

“The main thing for us is I’m all about something that’s classy and something that people want to be a part of,” Bauer said. “The goal would ultimately be to try to get 20 to 30 students at each grade level.”

It will be up to the underclassmen of the organization to start reaching out and recruiting for next year, as Pettit will be graduating in May.

The first meeting for the organization on April 25 showed that there is already a group of students with a vision for the future.

“Being at some athletic events last year, the attendance was there at the beginning and then it started to die down,” said sophomore Jack Aschwege. “I want to see students shoulder to shoulder like at Memorial Stadium.”

The overall goal for the attendees of the first meeting was to bring people together.

“It is important for me to join The Pronghorns because I think it’d be cool to be a part of something that gets more people engaged and involved on campus,” said junior Olivia Osdiek. “Just see a lot of people having fun, getting involved and making it a good time at UNK athletics.”

The organization is still in its infancy and not yet approved as an official student organization. Hopes are high for what the new organization can do for UNK and its athletic programs.

“We’re one big team here and we want to include as many people in this team atmosphere as we possibly can,” Bauer said. “And I think that’s what The Pronghorns can do.”

The Pronghorns, a new proposed student organization on UNK’s campus, wants to boost student attendance at Loper sporting events. Though early in development, The Pronghorns already have the support of the UNK athletic department, and are looking to be formally made an official student organization soon.