New incentive program honors dedicated fans
ASUA will hold its first Zona Zoo football tailgate of the season tomorrow at 11 a.m. on the UA Mall, where it will introduce a new point-earning plan to encourage students to participate and support UA athletic activities.
The Associated Students of the University of Arizona will begin tallying points at tomorrow's event for its "Bear Down Bandits" spirit program, said ASUA Spirit Director Amber Harryman. Students with the top 100 point totals at the end of the school year will become charter members of the "Bear Down Bandits," earning them a T-shirt with each member's name on the back and an invitation to a recognition banquet, complete with UA athletes and coaches in attendance.
"Students have been asking for a point system for a long time," Harryman said. "While we can't give points to get basketball tickets, we'd like to give them something."
Free food and drinks will be available at tomorrow's event, with a DJ providing entertainment.
Prizes and giveaways will also be offered for each Zona Zoo sponsored event throughout the school year, like bottle opener key chains, long-sleeved Zona Zoo shirts, local restaurant coupons and additional promotional items, like raffles for memorabilia signed by UA athletes or coaches.
"It's just stuff that we can give to students and say, 'Hey, we might not be able to give you a student section in basketball, but why not give out recognition in the meantime,'" Harryman said. "It's stuff to say thanks for coming to these games, we appreciate you guys being out here."
Point values per event vary, with those attending tomorrow's tailgate receiving 15 points and anyone who goes on the fall ASUA/Zona Zoo road trip to Los Angeles for the Wildcats' Nov. 13 game against Southern California will receive 20 points.
With 11 possibilities to earn points during the fall semester, and another 13 events on tap for the spring, Harryman said representatives from ASUA and the UA Sports Marketing Association will record attendance by Zona Zoo members who show their passes at UA sporting events or other functions.
Harryman said the list of this semester's point-possible events won't be limited strictly to sanctioned NCAA sports, but to popular club sports events as well, including rugby, lacrosse and water polo.
Harryman said because of logistical reasons - too many students attend to be able to count - that points won't be collected for those students who attend football and men's basketball games.
A list of this semester's point-eligible events, along with point values available, will be posted online by Sunday at the Zona Zoo Web site, zonazoo.arizona.edu.