Thursday, October 22, 2015

Free tickets spread the power of crimson

Angi and Jim DavisJim and Angi Davis at the WSU Pullman tailgate party.

WSU Global Campus students were recently immersed in Cougar spirit—complete with knuckle-biting plays, screaming fans, and glorious victories—thanks to free football game tickets from the student government.

ASWSU Global usually hosts skiing events, zoo visits, tailgate parties, the Tacoma Rendezvous, and graduation receptions, all funded by student activity fees. This fall, the student government voted to give away about 200 tickets to four away games, Homecoming and the Apple Cup.

Shandie Morrison got tickets to see the Cougs battle the Ducks in Eugene, Ore. She had never been to a WSU game before. “It was a night I will never forget,” said the social sciences major from Vancouver, Wash. “My husband and I got decked out in Coug gear, and screamed and cheered while standing in the middle of a sea of Ducks.”

The game went into overtime, then double-overtime before WSU made an interception to win, 45-38. “After the game I have never been high-fived and hugged by so many strangers in my life,” Morrison said.

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Angi Davis, an MBA student from Snoqualmie, Wash., was already a dyed-in-the-wool Coug when she got tickets to the Homecoming game, where the Cougs beat Oregon State, 52-31. Davis’ husband, Jim, is a former Cougar defensive back, and her daughter is a WSU cheerleader. “I love WSU,” Davis said. “Free tickets or not.”

Love, however, has a flip side: In the Davis household, there’s an edict against a color associated with a rival school. “We seriously own no purple,” Angi Davis said. “When they were younger, the girls weren’t allowed to buy clothes in any shade of purple. I am not allowed to plant purple flowers in the summer.”

Mollie Erickson, an accounting major from Spokane, still allows purple in her house—but maybe not for long. Her conversion to Coug-mania started with last year’s ASWSU Global Homecoming party and barbecue. Then there was January’s free skiing night, followed by free tickets to this fall’s Homecoming game.

“These events have made my whole family into Cougars,” Erickson said. “My husband just bought a Cougar cap. And my daughters now say they want to go to WSU too.”

For Sarah Gardner, a psychology major who came to Homecoming from Sammamish, Wash., the ticket giveaway was less about gridiron clashes and more about the softer side of Cougar spirit:

“I think these events just add to the whole feeling of what WSU is about,” she said, “warm and welcoming and inviting.”