Hawks receive NCAA D-II Game-Environment AwardDecember 6, 2012

The Rockhurst University “Jam the Gym” for the Hawks' home basketball games against Missouri S&T on Feb. 16, 2012 was chosen as the NCAA Division II Game-Environment Award winner for the Great Lakes Valley Conference for 2012.

"Jam the Gym" was an event created by the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) to literally jam the gym full of students, faculty and staff to show support for the men's and women's basketball senior games, with the hopes of driving interest to attend future athletic events.

The SAAC was able to fund a “Senior Pre-Party” in the gym where pizza and soft drinks were served and seniors were allowed to mingle and reminisce about experiences at Rockhurst. Also, the inaugural senior class picture was taken during a time-out of the men’s game. Both of these senior initiatives were promoted via social media, a campus wide email, and word of mouth.

When students entered the gym, they were encouraged to buy a $1 raffle ticket that made them eligible to win a number of different prizes. Prizes ranged from gift cards to protein shakers to the grand prize of a 32-inch flat screen TV. Sodexo, Rockhurst University's food provider, was even generous enough to donate $200 worth of meal points as smaller prizes. All proceeds from pizza, raffles, and t-shirt sales went to SAAC’s philanthropy, the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

During the games, SAAC members dressed up in the mascot costumes and blue suits to energize the crowd. They threw out prizes during timeouts and helped the cheerleaders gain crowd participation in cheers. As an added bit of entertainment, the entire SAAC rehearsed and performed a flash mob during halftime of the men's game.

"Overall, the event was a huge success, and an even larger and fundamental step in the right direction for the future of Rockhurst Athletics, as well as for the overall school spirit and morale of Rockhurst University," said Mike Koehler, RU assistant director of athletics. "The SAAC leadership did a great job in bringing this event together and this award is a well-deserved recognition for their efforts."

All conference winners of the Division II Game-Environment Award will receive a $500 award.

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