Game day at both the college and high school level is a time-honored tradition where students come together to support their teams, create lasting memories, and celebrate school spirit. However, it’s essential to ensure that game day experiences are inclusive and welcoming for all students, regardless of their level of knowledge surrounding sports and game day tradition. In this blog, we’ll explore strategies to foster a sense of community and inclusivity on game day.
1. Education and Information
Not every student is a sports/student section aficionado, and that’s perfectly okay. To make everyone feel welcome, provide educational materials or pre-game briefings about the sport, cheers/chants, and key players. Utilize student section social media accounts and printable flyers to describe game day expectations, traditions, and other important information that a newbie might need to know.
2. Pre-game Activities
Some students may want to attend the game, but are afraid of showing up alone and not knowing who to stand with during the game. To help ease this anxiety, consider planning a pre-game event with activities that encourage students to get to know each other before tip-off.
3. Step into your Role
As a student section leader, it is part of your job to build community and make newcomers feel welcome. Make it a goal to meet five new students every game and introduce those students to other students who will welcome them into the student section.
4. Embrace Theme Nights
Theme days and costumes are a great equalizer. Encourage students to dress up in school colors, costumes, or outfits related to the theme of the game. This makes it fun and easy for everyone to participate and feel part of the game day community.
5. Feedback and Continuous Improvement
Lastly, seek feedback from students about their game day experiences. Conduct surveys or focus groups to understand their needs and concerns. Use this feedback to make continuous improvements and ensure that game days become increasingly inclusive over time.
In conclusion, game day should be a unifying experience that brings the entire student body together. By implementing these strategies, schools can create an environment where all students feel welcome. Game day can be a time when the diverse student community comes together, celebrates school spirit, and builds lasting connections that extend beyond the stadium.