The Record applauds College Council (CC) for recently updating and adding to its bylaws to solidify the institutional relationship between CC and Superfan as a CC subcommittee, and to clarify and formulate the ideal role of Superfan at the College. We acknowledge the success achieved by the relatively new Superfan program in enlarging the fanbase of the College’s athletic programs and enhancing the ethos surrounding College sporting events since its 2012 inception through the Great Ideas campaign. Superfan activities and events generally have had positive effects for both College athletes and student spectators. However, as the structure and role of Superfan becomes more codified moving forward, we hope that the Superfan committee, as well as CC, will continue to envision and shape Superfan on ideal terms of what it could be and what is best for both student athletes and spectators, rather than adhering to the current model of what Superfan has been since its founding.
We at the Record think it is important that Superfan continues to receive lump sum funding, for it is likely necessary for the group’s efficient and flexible operation. Additionally, we do not find the increased CC presence, in the form of a representative member of CC permanently on Superfan, to be obtrusive or policing. Superfan should remain accountable and responsive to the student body and the College. Also, because the Superfan program has had only a few years experience to try out different methods of operation and has shifted greatly within that time, CC should help it ground its structure in a lasting way. It is our hope that the representative of CC will continue working toward ensuring the optimal utilization of Superfan’s funding throughout the semester.
We are also in favor of the mandate that Superfan attends two CC meetings at the beginning and end of term, as this promotes bilateral dialogue and offers Superfan a chance to voice concerns or changes that need to addressed. Although Superfan does a good job communicating and coordinating with athletic team captains, a supplementary channel of input from individuals with experience coordinating and organizing campus efforts and events could only be valuable for the group in coming years.
One issue that should be further scrutinized is devising a fair model for allocating funds, one that both accommodates the spirit needs at major sporting events that already have large volumes of enthusiastic students in attendance and also encourages spirit and attendance at sporting events that don’t receive a lot of publicity or attract a large audience as is. In other words, Superfan should not spend exorbitant amounts of money on certain sporting events like the annual basketball games against our archrival Amherst, which already attract huge crowds, at the cost of supporting teams like cross country and crew, whose off-campus meets and regattas are less accessible to student fans and spectators. Furthermore, while the committee has generally attempted to throw events for as many sports as possible, CC should consider an additional bylaw requiring Superfan to host an event for each sports team at least once during its season, schedule and weather permitting.
In the future, meetings of Superfan should be more accessible, like CC meetings, so general members of the student body can approach the committee with ideas, perhaps even taking on small delegated responsibilities or heading initiatives in which they have interest, such as grilling at games or leading cheers. This also would go a long way in promoting campus-wide participation in sporting events and school spirit, as students would know that they have an available means via a committed student group to put an idea into action.
Likewise, perhaps expanding and diversifying the types of free merchandise handed out to student spectators, from the classic Superfan T-shirts to other alternative apparel and accessories like hats and gloves for cold weather games, would potentially draw more of a crowd to athletic events.
That being said, Superfan has been doing very well thus far, especially given the constraints of bad weather and scheduling that have inhibited certain events. Superfan also does a particularly good and enthusiastic job both advertising events on all available platforms, and it was a truly creative idea and crucial change to arrange bus transportation to events. Superfan remains an important presence on campus for all College students and we hope the committee can maintain both its flexibility and creativity in the process of solidifying its identity and scope.