Northern Kentucky University’s athletic department has joined with the student spirit group, Norse Force, to help promote school pride and improve attendance at sporting events.
All NKU students receive free admission to all regular-season home games with a swipe of their NKU All-Cards. If they sign up with Norse Force for $10, they will receive an official Norse Force t-shirt as well as a “Norse Tag.” They can scan these tags at NKU Athletics events to earn points toward rewards throughout the season.
Sponsors of the student rewards program include Self Diploma, Buffalo Wild Wings, Campus Book & Supply, Chipotle, Barleycorn’s, Jimmy John’s, Skyline Chili and Adventures on the Gorge.
With the anticipated jump to Division I, Norse Force and NKU Athletics representatives say that now is the time to get students involved in helping spread the word about the Norse across the nation and put Northern Kentucky on the map.
“Going D-I is one of the reasons I wanted to make Norse Force really big this year,” Norse Force President Sara Daugherty said. “We are starting now, instead of looking like we do not know what we are doing when the time comes.”
Daugherty said getting the word out will help get students excited about becoming a bigger school in a larger division.
NKU is hosting the Division II Elite Eight for men’s basketball in 2012 and 2013. Daugherty said Norse Force will be a part of it by volunteering and helping host the event.
“We are going to have a lot of people around to show off what we are made of and prove that we can go D-I,” Daugherty said.
Norse Force has had its ups and downs with student participation over the past few years, but joining with NKU Athletics will give it the backbone that it needs, according to Daugherty.
Stephanie West, athletic marketing and promotions coordinator, said the new student rewards program should give students motivation to come out to the games.
“I have been wanting to do the student rewards program, and it just made sense to partner with Norse Force,” West said. “It is basically the spirit organization here on campus, and it has the strongest presence with athletics.”
West said student participation and attendance have increased over the last two years, and she said she thinks the student rewards program can make it double.
“Sara has been great with helping us get all of the students,” West said. “I can go out and recruit all I want, but the students are the ones that can really make an impact by bringing in more people.”
Daugherty and West both said student athletes must also play their parts as fans.
“Athletes are allowed to join and it is actually smart for them, because they are already going to be at the games,” Daugherty said.
West said that student athletes are like one giant fraternity and sorority.
“It is a big family away from home,” West said. “As a student athlete, you love to see your peers in the stands.”
Sean Herron studied entrepreneurship at NKU and is a co-founder of Self Diploma, a Norse Force sponsor.
“I foresaw getting involved with Norse Force as an opportunity to start speaking with all of the right people about my visions, ideas and goals for NKU’s growth,” Herron said. “I think that adding DJs and performers to the current events at the university will make them more entertaining and will create a buzz.”
Self Diploma is an outside marketing firm that controls a lot of the entertainment around downtown Cincinnati. It hosts concerts and celebrity events, as well as bar and night club promotions.
“I see what other universities are doing,” Herron said. “If NKU wants to be more appealing, these are the type of things it will have to do. It is something that students can look forward to and you’ve got to give them something to talk about. It is what draws people to come out and enjoy themselves.”