Alumni Association hopes Gym Day event brings school spirit

Alumni Association hopes Gym Day event brings school spirit

Alumni Association hopes Gym Day event brings school spirit
March 21
00:50 2014

Ali West // Staff Writer

In an effort to bolster school spirit and support class identity while benefiting UNT-based philanthropic causes, the UNT Student Alumni Association will host its first Gym Day on Saturday in the Ken Bahnsen Gym, next to the Coliseum.

The participants will be broken into seven teams – the classes of 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017, as well graduate students and alumni. Transfer and non-traditional students will make up the seventh squad.

A three-legged race, tug-of-war and a football toss are just a few of the events planned for the Gym Day, which will be held in the spirit of an elementary school field day.

Students can join teams and get a T-shirt for $10 up until Friday. Registration begins at 11 a.m. and the event starts at 1 p.m.

“[It] will hopefully boost the overall morale towards school spirit all over campus,” said Christopher Weatherspoon, mechanical and energy engineering junior and class of 2015 team captain. “I would love to see our students become as passionate about our school as the students at some other schools across the state.”

The event was originally called Field Day and and planned for outdoors, but was moved indoors because of forecasted rainy weather on Saturday. Points will be awarded based upon performance, participation and donations raised. The team with the most points will win a Golden Squirrel trophy.

The event was created to raise money specifically for UNT, said Kathleen Spriggs, junior development and family studies major and president of the Student Alumni Association.

“We’re really all about philanthropy,” Spriggs said. “The money that the teams raise stays at UNT for a UNT cause.”

The benevolence side of the event has been ongoing since January. Each cause is accepting online donations on the Student Affairs website.

Money raised by the class of 2014 will go to the UNT emergency student fund, which biology senior and team leader Coresa Poole said will help students give back to each other.

“Some people going through things in college kind of lose themselves and kind of forget what being human is,” Poole said. “Humanity is something to cherish and not to lose sight of.”

Poole said her goal as a team captain is to get seniors involved before they leave. She also hopes they will join the Alumni Association.

“Coming down to my senior year, I felt like my college experience was really successful. I felt like I needed to give back to the students before I graduated,” Poole said.

The class of 2015, with the cause of education, will raise money for UNT scholarships. Weatherspoon said all the money raised by his team will be donated to UNT’s general scholarship fund.

“Everything that we raise, in a way, will be given back to countless students across campus,” Weatherspoon said.

The class of 2016, benefiting poverty, will raise money for the Green Loan program, which provides emergency loans to students in need.

Promoting health, the class of 2017 will raise money for the Student Health and Fitness Gift Account, which funds numerous programs including peer education, free flu shots for students and the Condom Club.

Transfer and non-traditional students will raise money to create a scholarship for transfer students at UNT.

The alumni team will raise funds for the Student Alumni Association scholarship. Tyler Maryak, the alumni team captain and a financial aid administrator at UNT, said the event is an opportunity to actively give back and interact with current students.

“There has been a stigma at UNT for too long that its alumni don’t give back to the future generations of students who come through our great university,” Maryak said. “Particularly with the increasing difficulty that students have paying for school, we felt it was important to help UNT students stay in school in order to get their degree.”

Lastly, the graduate team will promote graduate travel grants.

For those who do not wish to participate but still want to support Gym Day, students can encourage competitors in a cheering section, Spriggs said.

It has been a challenge to raise a lot of attention for the Gym Day event since this is its first year, Weatherspoon said.

“I’m hoping that this will soon turn into a highly anticipated annual tradition of friendly class rivalries,” Weatherspoon said. “I’m really excited to see the turnout.”

Maryak said a challenge for the alumni team in particular is the “youth” of the event.

“Because it is the first year, many things have to be fixed and changed as the year goes on,” Maryak said. “Coordination can be difficult, especially if most of your team works full-time.”

In spite of this, Maryak said he feels lucky to be a part of Gym Day’s inaugural year.

“The [Gym] Day event has enormous potential to grow and become a thrilling and distinct tradition,” Maryak said.

To register for a team, buy a shirt or donate to a cause, visit studentaffairs.unt.edu/field-day.

Feature photo: Ken Bahnsen Gym. Ntdaily file photo. 

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