For a university of roughly 8,500 people, support for athletics may be somewhat lacking, especially since SSU athletic teams continue to rise above many teams from larger, more spirited schools. The Sports Management Group in association with the Athletics Association are working to bring a more cohesive school spirit to SSU.
This group of roughly 15 students, along with Carlos Pena, the manager of special projects for the Athletic Association, and Frank Scalercio, head of Sonoma State Athletics Association, are trying to change. These students in the Sports Management Group are doing all that they can to merge the community, the students, and the athletes to create the ever-so-iconic school spirit in athletics.
By raising money to help fund and provide scholarships for each SSU team and by turning the community and students into fans to come watch the athletes and games the Sports Management Group is making progress towards creating a fun and engaging atmosphere on campus.
One way in which they made progress towards these goals was by putting on their Homecoming Hospitality event on Friday afternoon in conjunction with the men’s and women’s soccer homecoming games.
In a gated off area complete with free Lagunitas beer and Ameci’s pizza, 150 guests consisting of alumni athletes, current athletes, community businesses and donors gathered to celebrate, talk with other local businesses and watch soccer.
“This hospitality event is for our amazing sponsors and alumni, we are very stoked to have them here,” said SMG’s Special Events Assistant Garrett Gooch. “We try to get sponsorship money so we can keep athletics here and this event helps with that.”
During the halftime of the women’s soccer game the Rotary Club of Cotati and Rohnert Park presented Head Coach of women’s soccer Emiria Salzmann and Frank Scalercio with a check for $1,500, 50 percent of which will go directly to women’s soccer, and the other half will go into the Athletic Scholarship Fund.
“This event allowed us to make it possible to mingle one on one with the sponsors and donors and alumni.” Says SMG’s Social Media and Marketing Assistant, Josh Cantu.
Besides that gift, SMG was able to add five or six new donors to SSU athletics at this hospitality event.
Aside from the Homecoming Hospitality event, SMG also creates parody commercials and athlete scholarship videos, and paint themselves blue when attending games. They also make personal connections with businesses around Cotati and Rohnert Park through personal visits and events.
“Everyone likes to have a fun time and be loud at games, just no one wants to do it by themselves,” said SMG Media Assistant Elliot Rosales. “All of us here in SMG want to help create a fun atmosphere and help keep quality athletes here.”