Class Hopes to ‘Welcome Back’

By Albert Perez

Cal Poly’s men’s basketball team’s game against six time
California Collegiate Athletic Association Champion Cal State San
Bernardino on Monday, holds more significance than just being the
team’s season home opener against its bitter rivals.

Being billed as “Welcome Back The Pack,” the game will be the
culmination of a campus-wide promotional effort set forth by
students from the International Business Marketing 492- Sports
Marketing class with the intention of bolstering student
involvement in university activities such as athletic events.

Under the direction of Dr. James A. Swartz, the project’s
primary objective is to break the Kellogg Gym’s attendance record
of 1,672 for a men’s basketball game, which was set two years ago
also in a game against Cal State San Bernardino as part of the
athletic department’s annual “Pack the Gym Night” event.

“We’re not only going to beat the attendance record. We’re going
to just destroy it. We’re going to be way above the record,” said
Swartz. “We figure we will at least have 2,000 there, maybe quite a
bit more.”

According to Swartz, the “Pack” in the project’s name refers to
the team’s fans, thus the project is designed to welcome them back
for the new season, along with new fans.

The students have used all their available resources in order to
create a great deal of awareness in hopes of attracting a large
number of students, faculty and staff to the game.

By promoting several pre-game activities such as free food, a
raffle, a free concert by local indie alternative rock band “The
Rest”, and planning fan participation contests during the game like
a “crazy fan contest,” the students hope to draw more

“We are doing events that cater to the needs of our students and
people in the community,” said international business marketing
student senior Zach Schroll, one of the several students involved
with the project. “We’re coming at all angles using the resources
we have.”

With the assistance of several departments on campus that
include ASI B.E.AT, Sports and Recreation, and Athletics; Schroll
feels the game is a good opportunity for students to let loose and
show some spirit.

“We don’t have a whole lot of sports here, or a big NCAA
Division I athletic atmosphere,” said Schroll. “I think if we give
our students the opportunity to see some excitement, and to just go
out there and yell and scream and act crazy for the night to a
certain extent, I think people will take advantage of it.”

Along with creating an athletic atmosphere, Schroll hopes they
could boost school spirit all around and bring students who do not
normally participate in school activities.

“We want to also bring out people who don’t normally come out,
like those who commute, so they could see what our school actually
has to offer because a lot of people just show up to class and go
home, and what we want to do is have them actually have a college
experience,” said Schroll.

With only 3, 000 students living on campus; there is a perennial
notion about the university just being a “commuter school.” Yet,
Swartz feels that’s not the reason for low student participation in
university activities and rejects that notion.

“We keep on using that as an excuse that were just a ‘commuter
school.’ We’re not just a ‘commuter school,” said Swartz. First of
all, there [are] 3,000 students who live on campus; they’re not
commuters, they’re residents, and then we have quite a few students
who live very close to the campus, many whom live in nearby
apartments, many of whom live in fraternity houses, and are very
involved in campus activities.”

“If we get 2, 000 to 3,000 people out for an event like this
after the big Yellowcard concert, where we had almost 5,000 people,
[students] are going to start saying ‘you know what? We’re not just
a commuter school anymore. We used to be but we’re not anymore.’
That’s the goal with this home opener.”

Aside from promoting campus involvement and school athletics,
one of the other primary objectives of the project is to exemplify
the notion of “applied knowledge,” allowing the students to put to
work the sports marketing principles they have learned in

“We’re supporting athletics, but we’re also supporting the
objective of the university’s mission,” said Swartz. “The
university mission is clearly stated as ‘learn by doing.’ It’s
incumbent upon the university faculty to apply the ‘learn by doing’
philosophy to our educational undertakings, that’s certainly what
I’ve tried to do in the 20 years that I’ve been here.”

Albert Perez can be reached by e-mail at
or by phone at (909) 869-4630.

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