The only thing more intimidating than the UNH Football team is a herd of UNH students wielding thunder-sticks chanting about how proud they are to be Wildcats. UNH President Mark Huddleston gave the first speech of the Homecoming Pep Rally at the Lundholm Gymnasium on Wednesday night, where he emphasized the importance of the energy that students and fans provide.
“In my time here at UNH, I have never seen the type of enthusiasm that this group of students has shown,” Huddleston said. He encouraged everyone to attend the game Saturday and also to enjoy the rest of the Homecoming weekend events.
“The single best perk I get as president is I get to walk on the field along the sidelines during the games. And I can see how the team feeds off the energy you give with your spirit,” Huddleston said.
“A wise man once told me that you’re going to have more than one house, more than one job, more than one car…etc. But you’re only going to have one alma mater,” he said. “So treasure these moments and bring your energy Saturday to the game!”
A lot of the credit for the rally goes to the Campus Activities Board (CAB) for planning the Homecoming week events and managing to pull it off despite the hectic Bernie and Hillary rally ending, “just in time,” according to CAB member Julianne Calef.
“Plans for Homecoming week began in May and the rally is one of the major events obviously,” Calef said.
In preparation for the rally, Calef said CAB members contacted athletics to reserve the field house and recruited the athletic teams, cheerleaders, dancers, gymnastics team and other student organizations to take part in the event. “Lastly, after conceiving the events for the rally we check them in with athletics,” Calef said. The teams prepare accordingly.
What makes a pep rally worth going to? What’s all the hype about? Well that’s exactly it, hype.
“A pep rally is a great way to heat up the teams together. It brings people together in a nice fun way and it hasn’t happened since freshman move-in,” Calef said.
“They bring the school together and get them really hyped up to be a Wildcat. It’s always just nice to see a community come together,” junior Nick Alley said.
“Ditto. It get’s you really amped, it’s cool to be supporting the clubs and the sports and everything UNH has to offer,” sophomore Jaclyn DeVylder said.
Of all the dances that were performed at the rally, the crowd was most responsive to Sisters in Step (SIS) team, who had the longest, most choreographed routine of the evening.
Senior lead stepper Mary “M.J.” Wieman said she was, “pretty excited, but a little nervous, but overall happy to be supporting other organizations on campus.”
“We love performing at the spirit rally! It has a great energy and we love being about UNH and seeing the other performances,” Wieman said.
The teams and performers proudly represented their individual groups while simultaneously supporting their extra curricular comrades.
Coach Sean McDonnell gave the rally’s closing speech. “It’s not just about us. Go support men’s soccer, field hockey, men’s hockey and volleyball,” he said, encouraging students to route for all UNH teams.
The crowd of Wildcats dispersed after the rally to begin preparing themselves for what is anticipated to be one of the most epic Homecoming weekends in UNH history, celebrating 150 years of Wildcat pride.