By Kourtney Husnick
Sophomore BreAja Morgan is well aware of Cleveland State University students’ low attendance for Viking athletic events. In October 2019, Morgan and a small group of students started the Vicious Vikes, a student section working with the athletics department, to shift the university culture and encourage students to go to games.
The Vicious Vikes plan to have students at home games for everything from fencing and tennis to lacrosse and basketball.
While the group is not an officially recognized student organization, they meet weekly alongside Aimee Dupree’-Chambers, the university’s assistant athletics director for administration, to set a game plan for upcoming athletic events and discuss ways to draw in more students.
“We’re doing a lot of things in the department to reach out from our staff, student athletes and coaches to get them involved more on campus, make them more visible, make them part of the university experience,” Scott Garrett, Cleveland State’s director of athletics, said at one of the group’s weekly meetings he sat in on. “I hope that you’ve noticed those things and the intentional effort we’re making.”
As athletics works on their initiatives, the Vicious Vikes dedicate part of their weekly meetings to brainstorm their own ideas for bringing in a crowd. Frustrations come up in the process, but the group tries to have fun with their meetings — which is exactly what they want for students who join them at the games.
“Any time you start something new, especially around building school spirit in a place that historically has had a difficult time building school spirit, it’s tough, but just because it’s tough doesn’t mean it’s impossible,” Garrett reminded the students leading the group.
Morgan keeps the group’s social media accounts active, pushing out game day reminders and information about special themes and incentives for attending the games.
Learn more and follow along with the growing new student section group via Twitter (@ViciousVikes) and on Instagram (@theviciousvikes).