Northern Kentucky University’s student spirit organization, Norse Force, has had a busy summer and is currently planning events to help the “Norse Nation” gain momentum in it’s first Division I athletic season.
The organization is currently preparing for the Norse Force Pep Rally that will be held on Aug. 28 at 4:30 p.m. at the soccer stadium. It is also a membership drive where students can sign up to be a member for $10. Previous members can also renew their membership for the same price.
There will be free food for all attendees and free T-shirts will be distributed to students who sign up.
Like last year, official members will get a Norse tag, money in coupons and gifts. The Norse tag can be swiped at NKU athletic events to earn credits and get more prizes.
Norse Force is planning to take a large picture where students will get on the field and line up to create an N, K and U at the pep rally.
“We’re trying to get a lot of people to come so that the picture will be successful,” said Norse Force President Sara Daugherty.
NKU will also be hosting Black-N-Gold Madness on Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. It will be a live practice event exclusively for the men’s and women’s basketball teams.
Daugherty said that even though things will be different this year, people will still have something to look forward to.
“Our home schedule is going to be a lot smaller than what we are used to, but I think a lot of people will be excited to see the men’s basketball schedule when it comes out,” Daugherty said.
Norse Force recently won the 2012 Award of Distinction, which is the highest NKU student organization honor, and the 2012 Outstanding Program Award for the “Throw Your Norse Up” competition.
Daugherty said winning the Award of Distinction completely caught her off guard.
“We are just so grateful on how Norse Force expanded last year, and we can’t wait to see what happens this year,” Daugherty said. “It was presented by President Votruba and it was a huge honor. I was completely shocked.”
Stephanie West, coordinator of athletic marketing and promotions, said Norse Force has really grown through collaboration and leadership.
“We work with a lot of different entities on campus and I think that has helped get the word of mouth out,” West said. “I have to give kudos to Sara Daugherty. She is phenomenal as our president. We also have a task force of students that are involved.”
West said people usually think of the summer as down time, but she thinks it was the busiest the athletic department and Norse Force has ever seen, in terms of branding all of the sports as NKU enters its inaugural season of Division I.
“Its really coming together, but I think with the support of the university and all of the students, we can definitely compete,” West said. “We need our extra man out in the stands.”
West said the official count from the men’s soccer game against the University of Kentucky was 1,270, a little more than what was released at first.
“Around 650 were students, so that is about half,” West said. “I hope we match that at the women’s game.”
NKU’s first Division I regular-season home game will be on Sept. 4, with the women’s soccer team taking on Xavier University at 7 p.m.
Daugherty said it is really going to test the NKU student body’s commitment in going to games since NKU will not have that many home games.
Daugherty said she was proud to be a part of the Bellarmine game last year, which had the highest student attendance in school history with 1,200 Norse fanatics.
“I felt very accomplished that we had so many people come out and fill up the student section,” Daugherty said. “It was overflowing and the gold t-shirts made it even better. We did lose, but at that point it didn’t even matter anymore because the support was unbelievable.”
Chris Cole, director of marketing and communication, said NKU will be doing more marketing than ever to promote games both on and off campus.
“In order for this transition to be successful, NKU needs students, alumni and the community at the games,” Cole said.
More information about the Norse Force and NKU Athletics can be found at nkunorse.com/norseforce, facebook.com/nkunorseforce, twitter.com/nkunorseforce.