Red Riot rewards support


By Lark Lewis

Red Riot, NIU’s student-fan organization, is rewarding students for showing support for Huskie Athletics.

Red Riot held an informational meeting 6 p.m. Thursday in Cole Hall, Room 100, to recruit members, inform students of the group’s plans and to get the word out about athletic events. Also at the meeting were members of athletic marketing, coaches and student athletes.

“The mission of Red Riot is to come together as a group of students to represent and support NIU at athletic events,” said Red Riot president Jose Gonzalez.

Gonzalez said the group wants to start doing chants and cheers at athletic events to pump up the crowd and show athletes their peers support them.

“You look at other colleges and they’re having a lot more fun because they’re out their supporting their team,” Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez appealed to students in other campus organizations and urged them to come as a group to athletic events.

“We’re going to lay the groundwork for future students,” Gonzalez said. “It’ll be better for recruiting kids to come to this school.”

Red Riot gave away a $300 Fatty’s Pub & Grill tab to an organization at Sunday men’s basketball game and the Student Association gave away a $300 tab to the same organization to a restaurant of the group’s choice.

“We really want to see you guys out at the games,” said James Ericson, assistant athletic director of marketing. “You guys create the atmosphere.”

While Ericson is in charge of promotional aspects involving athletics, such as the Dash for Cash and the bounce house during basketball games, he said the students have the most control over what happens during the games and who comes.

“Your energy can make a difference in the game,” Ericson said. “[The players] feed of the energy from the crowd.”

A key speaker at the meeting was men’s basketball coach Mark Montgomery.

“We want you guys to have an unbelievable experience,” Montgomery said. “[We want] for you guys to start something special.”

Montgomery and Ericson used to work at different universities, and they hope to see Red Riot grow to be what their former universities’ fan groups are.

“The guys are working hard. If everyone here can bring one friend, we’re up to 64 on Sunday,” Montgomery said. “All of a sudden, they’re having a good time and they bring someone, we’re up to 96.”

Montgomery, Ericson and Gonzales want organizations to merge and become one fan section at athletic events with Red Riot.

“If we can show support at the games, it would make this university something special,” Gonzalez said.