The divide between athletes and the majority of the student body is one of the most oft-noted issues at the University of Dallas. In 2014, Anthony Campise ’15, founded Blue Crew precisely to combat that divide.
“Blue Crew is a student-led organization which aims to build a bridge between the Athletics Department and the student body,” Blue Crew Chairwoman, Erika Javier said. “Blue Crew promotes participation at sporting events by sponsoring home games to support UD Athletics and student-athletes.”
“Blue Crew started back my freshman year when Anthony Campise decided to change the school atmosphere and add a touch of school spirit that was obviously missing,” Chairwoman Moira Quinn said. “It was a small committee that met every once in a while, but after the first Blue Crew-sponsored soccer game, I was hooked.”
Blue Crew continued sponsoring UD sporting events for two years, but in August 2016 its funding was cut, and Quinn and Javier returned to campus to find that their beloved group no longer existed.
“Javier and I were both members of the original Blue Crew squad, so we wanted to continue Campise’s hard work,” Quinn said. “[We] used our positions on Student Government to create a Student Government committee with both Erika and I as co-chairs.”
That fall, as the Blue Crew was planning senior nights for each of the fall sports, Javier seized upon the idea of an event to honor all the UD athletes, and the first-ever UD pep rally was born.
The fall semester was consumed from thereon out with planning the rally. Javier and Quinn worked with their crew, the various team captains and the athletic department to craft what they hoped would be a crowd-pleasing event and maybe even an enduring tradition.
Blue Crew kicked off what would be a two-day event by collaborating with Student Programming (SPUD) to host a “Go Blue or Go Home” TGIT. The Rathskeller swarmed with students in UD gear, blue leis and face paint.
At press time, TGIT coordinator Elizabeth McGavran could not be reached for comment.
The main event took place the following evening, and started by honoring all the senior athletes. Unfortunately, both the men’s and women’s basketball teams were absent due to away games that weekend. They found, however, a creative way to be present for the rally.
“Both the men’s and women’s basketball teams secretly configured a video for us to play at the rally,” Javier said. “We knew we couldn’t have a pep rally without them, so the video was a great rendition of their presence.”
“First, we honored a total of 43 seniors from all 14 sports,” Javier continued. “They were then put to the test of their true athleticism in a friendly game of dodgeball.”
After the dodgeball game, 12 students participated in a knockout tournament for a chance to win four tickets to a Dallas Mavericks game. Senior Kevin Doherty snatched up the prize 30 seconds into the final half-court shootout.
Participants in the rally also received T-shirts designed by senior Chelsey Hogan and junior Joseph Wiele.
Both Quinn and Javier counted the pep rally as a huge success, and they look forward to seeing it become UD tradition.
“The sole purpose of the pep rally was to show our appreciation for the Athletics Department and its athletes,” Javier said. “As I graduate, I hope the pep rally will become a long-lasting and recurring part of UD in order to show our appreciation for our Athletics Department.”
Both look forward to the day when athletics will become a fully integrated and celebrated part of student life at the university.
“When one thinks of the University of Dallas, one thinks of talented people who love to express themselves through elaborate sentences and well-crafted essays,” Quinn said. “I’ve always gotten B’s on my essays so I decided to express my thoughts through something a little simpler: cheering at sports events. We greatly appreciate all of the willingness of the athletes to work with us to create one big University of Dallas where students are recognized not only for their work on paper, but on the courts and fields as well.”