Athletic dept. kicks off community outreach

Marie Jubert | The Duquesne Duke

Aaron Warnick | Photo Editor
Aaron Warnick | Photo Editor

The athletic department at Duquesne has been promoting the basketball program throughout the academic year in hopes of rallying together school spirit.

The preparations for this initiative began over the summer. The orientation pep rally that took place on Aug. 25 kicked off the campaign when new freshmen arrived.

According to Nicole Bucholtz, the assistant director of marketing and promotion in the University’s athletic department, the purpose of the pep rally is, “to get freshmen in front of our student-athletes as soon as they get to campus, meet our coaches and to hear the fight song.”

Furthermore, a new game day tradition has been established for both the football and basketball season called Towers Tailgates. According to Bucholtz, Towers Tailgates is an event where the athletic department hands out giveaways and has a prize registry in Towers Dining Hall an hour before home games as a last reminder to students to attend the games.

The Dukes Madness Tipoff Tournament was another major event that took place on campus that connected the student body with players and coaches. The event was a major success and Bucholtz hopes that it will become a tradition on campus.

A new event will debut in December called “Residence Hall Raiders.” This event will allow floors to compete in multiple events for a chance to win a floor “makeover.” According to Bucholtz, this event is set for Duquesne vs. Penn State game at CONSOL Energy Center.

Generally speaking, the basketball program has also been promoted through television monitors on campus, flyers, table tents and grassroots marketing efforts on campus handing out flyers according to Bucholtz.

She elaborated that this is not just an effort from the athletic department, but an initiative that involves the entire community.

“We partner with multiple student organizations annually including the Student Government Association, Duquesne Program Council, Greek Life, Resident Hall Association, Zeta Tau Alpha, Circle K, the Student Veterans Association and Best Buddies to name a few,” Bucholtz said. “This is by far my most favorite way to engage with students because we’re getting their student organization out on a bigger platform than just the Bluff and encouraging partnerships rather than just hosting individual events. We all have great causes to support and promote – it’s great to do it together as a Duquesne community.”

SGA president Attila Mihalik has particularly been involved in this initiative.

“Increasing school spirit and pride in athletics has been the main goal,” said Mihalik, who has been working alongside Bucholtz in order to spread the word about athletics.

One of his roles has been emailing the study body and administrative committees in an effort to invite them to take part in events. Mihalik has also been involved in coordinating a new event where students will have the opportunity to trade in other collegiate apparel for new Duquesne shirts.

The first home game men’s basketball team is on Nov. 9 at 2 p.m. against Abilene Christian University. Freshmen students Emily Koza and Kaitlyn Clem are looking forward to the start of the season.

“I would like to go to a game,” Koza said. “I want to be a part of the Duquesne sports community.”

Clem added that she’s excited as well.

“It’s been a long time since I’ve been to a college basketball game so what better time to start again now that I’m in college.”