Badger student fans gathered at the Kohl Center to watch the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team beat Xavier 77–68 on the big screen Tuesday night.
Though unusual for fans to cheer from the home arena during an away game, AreaRED — the new face behind the student section — hosted a launch party to get students excited. The student section was open to the public to watch the Badgers defeat Xavier with free pizza and drinks.
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Board member Zoe Federbusch helped plan Tuesday’s launch event that attracted 120 students to the Kohl Center.
“As more people learn about AreaRED, we hope to see bigger turnouts at events in the near future,” Federbusch said.
The student section of Wisconsin sports used to go by the name of Grateful Red, but the athletic department wanted to create a new identity for students that is led by students themselves.
With the help of Alando Tucker, the athletic department director of student athlete engagement, and Kat Wodajo, director of student athlete recruitment, AreaRED is run by eight student board members, who work behind-the-scenes on behalf of student fans.
Federbusch said members of the AreaRED board felt UW’s student section was not living up to its potential.
They’re aiming to amplify student voices to make those who attend sporting events more enjoyable, thus being more supportive of Wisconsin athletics.
The committee’s main goal is to increase student attendance and involvement at all sporting events. On top of planning launch parties like Tuesday’s, they create student section cheers, are active on social media and aim to create a positive atmosphere at sporting events for all fans to enjoy.
Earlier this semester, AreaRED had the basketball team come play on the Sellery dorm courts with students. Federbusch said this event promoted AreaRED’s new name and created excitement around the basketball season.
“We haven’t gotten much feedback from athletes yet, but we hope to use their advice on how they want the student section to be as basketball season continues and looking ahead to next year’s football games,” Federbusch said.