Apr 272008
Authors: Trevor Simonton

Despite a dreadful basketball season with record losses and embarrassing losing streaks, a few die-hard fans continued to show up painted in green and gold. Now, those most fanatic members of the “Green Machine” are being recognized for their unconditional school spirit.

Students Joe Cugliat, Laura Melton and Jarrod Haar were selected as the winners of the “Green Machine competition,” which recognized the few who consistently attended Men’s and Women’s basketball games during their disappointing ’07-’08 seasons.

The committee overlooking the competition, directed by senior business management major Mike Van Houten, was created almost two years ago as a branch of the Student Alumni Connection. Van Houten said that the ultimate goal of the competition is to improve the students’ experience of the games.

“Even if we’re losing, we want students to come and attend games,” Van Houten said. “Whether we win or lose, we want students to have a good time.”

This year was the first full year in which the “Green Machine,” the mob of Rams located behind each basket, has been active.

Van Houten said the Green Machine set up a table at every men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball game in the past semester to take the names, e-mails and student IDs of students who wanted their attendance counted.

They did not count attendance at football games, Van Houten said, because counting that many students “would be insane.”

“We had to write down all of the students’ info by hand and then manually enter it into excel spreadsheets to count them all up,” he said. “It was so massive; it was not fun at all having to do all of that while still tryin’ to go to school.”

Cugliat, Melton and Haar will each be awarded two free lunches at Raising Kane’s, a $40 gift card for any food service at the LSC and a $170 card for the CSU Bookstore. More than 2,500 students were recorded into the program with at least one game, but only 83 attended more than five games, enough to be recognized for an award.

Cugliat, Melton and Haar each made it to more than 30 games, missing only a few each over winter break.

“I like sports, and so I like to go see the games,” said Cugliat. “It’s something to do other than just sitting in a room studying.”

Melton and Haar, who are engaged, went to as many games as they could together.

“Teams really recognize when people are there,” Melton said, adding that anyone not going to the games is “missing out.”

“It really gets them (the athletes) going to see fans in the audience,” she said.

The Green Machine will count attendance for this reward system again next year, hoping to install some kind of electric, ID-card based counting system.

In the mean time, they will continue to try to connect the students with the athletes fighting for their school.

The Green Machine will host a lunch with Steve Fairchild, the new CSU football coach, tomorrow afternoon, open to all students, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., in Lory Student Center room 228.

“We really want to build a relationship with students, and help them put a face on their athletes,” Van Houten said.

Staff writer Trevor Simonton can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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