Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


AreaRED continues to expand representation in fall semester, beyond

Creation of ‘Cardinal & White,’ ‘Colony’ shows progress of organization
Krissy Birdsall

At the University of Wisconsin, AreaRED has solidified itself as the official student section on campus, providing its following with constant updates about the athletics programs at UW and in-event promotions.

The group was formed in the summer of 2018, highlighted by the thinking of former Wisconsin men’s basketball player and assistant coach Alando Tucker, according to AreaRED’s website. Tucker wanted to create excitement and buzz around UW Athletics and student section planning in the hands of students.

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AreaRED, named in relation to the trending Area51 from a couple of years ago, officially formed as a student organization in 2019, according to the website. Since then, it has taken off within the student body and on social media.


UW junior Alyssa Bhoopat joined AreaRED in the spring semester of her freshman year, a couple of years after the program came to fruition.

While working within the organization as a regular member for two years, her role evolved into leading the committee for women’s volleyball, also known as The MadHouse. Bhoopat is the leader of pre-planning student events for the women’s volleyball team, in addition to working hand-in-hand with members of upper management in UW Athletics.

“This summer we worked a lot on planning specific giveaways, theme nights and which games we’re going to tie those to,” Bhoopat said. “We design the student sheets that we pass out before the game, and we basically facilitate the crowd, running some chants or just making sure that we hype everybody up.”

The Badgers’ women’s volleyball team is fresh off of a 2021 National Championship, which allows Bhoopat to utilize their star-power and popularity to ultimately create excitement for attending a volleyball game.

In addition to the in-person hype, Bhoopat gains many positive interactions on The MadHouse X, formerly known as Twitter, account. She sees it as a place for students to engage and receive answers about their questions, whereas the main UW volleyball account won’t respond.

“I think people, at least in the replies, feel that there can be more of a conversation between The MadHouse account then maybe with the more official volleyball account,” Bhoopat said. “I’ll get a lot of questions or comments, or something that kind of indicates that they want to reply that I feel like I don’t often see under the Wisconsin volleyball Twitter [X] account.”

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This fall, the main committee, led by AreaRED president Ben McLenaghan created a couple of new sections to join The MadHouse and Crease Creatures, which serve as the UW men’s and women’s hockey student section. It started with the UW Colony, a group designed to promote and attend men’s and women’s soccer events.

In addition to the Colony, Cardinal & White was created this semester, led by committee chair Elizabeth Hoffman, who is the director of the sub-group. While most sports have their own representatives, there are other athletic programs who don’t have the same amount of home events, but still deserve equal representation, Hoffman said.

Softball, cross country and others are main areas of focus for the Cardinal & White committee to begin the semester. Sept. 23, the committee hosted their first event — a tailgate with some of the softball parents before a doubleheader exhibition against Loyola University Chicago. This was just the start of many opportunities for the student body to get involved with supporting sports teams on campus with the help of AreaRED.

“People say they have a great time at the tailgates, and the team is very good, which obviously helps,” Hoffman said of the softball team. “People see, they’ll come to the game and do well, and be like ‘oh my gosh, i wanna go back’ and then they start a word of mouth.”

The trickle-down effect is something Hoffman noted from her work with the Badgers’ women’s basketball team last season. As more events and effort was put into promoting games throughout the season, crowds began to fill in and people were talking positively about the team.

It’s a goal for Hoffman and the rest of AreaRED to get students talking about the upcoming event, spread the word and then showing up to represent the red and white.

Bhoopat mentioned the success of the volleyball team and how the students play a key role in making the UW Field House an electric environment. Bhoopat said UW volleyball head coach Kelly Sheffield struggles to communicate with his athletes during timeouts just due to the magnitude of the student section.

“…He’s just yelling at his players and they can’t hear him,” Bhoopat said. “That’s really what I feel like our job is, just trying to make the Field House so hard to play in that no one really wants to come and play here.”

While this is prominent for women’s volleyball, AreaRED envisions that their group can lead the way in doing the same with other sports. The school pride continues to expand with the addition of the Cardinal & White, with future events are on the horizon.

AreaRED illustrates to students they are a committed student organization who cares about athletics, Hoffman said. It’s a key piece that will play into the future and even encourage students to join the organization to help increase the buzz around campus sporting events.

“Moving forward, I’d say our main goal is, again, awareness,” Hoffman said. “But, my goal by the end of the year is to have an event at every sport. Because even if we can’t get consistent presence at these events, we want people to gain new experiences because you don’t know if you like something if you haven’t tried it yet.”

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