Spartan Squad Increases Student Spirit at SJS

The Spartan Squad has created a cultural movement at SJSU. School spirit is extremely high, and as you walk around campus you can spot Spartan Squad shirts everywhere! This is the story about how the Spartan Squad was concieved, where it is going in the future, and how two SJSU students mapped out a plan for success.

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Hello from the Spartan Squad!

Several new events have taken place this year at San Jose State University, and it all started in the fall of this year.

The brand new multimillion dollar housing facility called the Campus Village opened its doors to thousands of students.

Dick Tomey became the new head coach of the Football team, and George Nessman became the new head coach of the Men's Basketball team.

Last but not least, there is also now a brand new look for all students who go to any sporting event that involves the teams of San Jose State.

The Spartan Squad was unveiled this year as the university's official student athletic booster club, and this new look features a unique logo and implements the traditional "old gold" school color along with royal blue of course!

Any interested students may sign up and receive one free t-shirt, which will serve the purpose of showing support at all SJSU athletic programs while increasing unity and pride throughout the student body.

The idea for Spartan Squad was indeed conceived by senior business management major, Matthew Olivieri, and senior business marketing major, Brad Villeggiante.

Former Associated Students President, Rachel Greathouse, also provided unconditional backing as she shared in the vision and saw the potential in a student athletic booster club at San Jose State University.

Without her support, the Spartan Squad would not exist today.

Squad co founder, Matthew Olivieri, was quoted during this SpartanThunder.com interview as stating:

"Brad and I wanted to create unity at SJSU. We thought that a great way to do this was to start an organization that promoted school spirit, while giving students an opportunity to form a community."

The creation process was not without bumps in the road. Several significant challenges stood in front of us from the beginning. First off, who do we tell this great idea to? What kind of look do we want to have? What kind of brand do we want to establish and how do we want to set the bar? Who will pay for the necessary advertising, brand new website and of course the Spartan Squad t-shirts themselves?

Furthermore, how will we get the attention of these ultra-busy college students who, in the past, didn't seem to care about SJSU?

With Rachel Greathouse's backing, the decision to go with Associated Students as one of the financially backing business entities was without question; especially too, given that they are in existence to promote any and all things that support students at SJSU.

And once San Jose State University Athletics saw Brad and my self's presentation regarding the idea, they too were on board.

Brad and I knew the look for the t-shirts, as well as all corresponding marketing material, etc, had to remain simple and identical as to not confuse students and destroy the brand that we wanted to create.

We knew several things regarding the look of the shirts themselves. One, the shirt had to be Gold. This served several purposes.

It quickly snags the attention of anyone who sees you wearing it and at games the student section would be easy to find for new students wearing their shirt and coming out to their first game.

Second, no one wants to be a walking billboard. Therefore, big sponsoring logos splashed all over (with the exception of a small Associated Students and SJSU Athletics logo) were out the question.

Third, we wanted a simple clean logo that did not show favoritism to any one sport in particular, but rather represented school pride in general and that would have a classic appeal and pass the test of time. Long term, we were/are always thinking long term from day one. Finally, we did not want any big Spartan logos or even the words "San Jose State" on the shirt.

We came to the conclusion that if you are a wearing a bright gold shirt, which reads in Blue lettering, "Spartan Squad" it is quite obvious where you go and who you are rooting for.

The year it was established was also a quintessential piece to the logo puzzle.

The establishing year helps to signify a new beginning, especially for all students this year who get to bear claim as "founding year" members.

In the end, roughly 15 designs were narrowed down to 5, then 3 then the one which is now being sported by students all over campus.

Brad and I spent countless hours carefully selecting the wording of all our goals for this, our inaugural year. Some of which are:

•Provide a fun and engaging social environment in which students can get to know one another

•Increase student attendance at every SJSU athletic event

•Be seen as the pride of the present and the ambassadors of the alumni, by exhibiting honor and good sportsmanship.

We also wrote out in great detail what we thought would be needed, advertising wise, in order to grab the attention of a university populated by mostly commuter students.

This included flyers, posters, banners and a top notch website, which includes links to several message board sites (Myspace, the Facebook and SpartanThunder.com) that allow for instant communication and updates with others who are signed up on these individual sites.

As a result of all these things, Spartan Squad has appeared to create a cultural movement at SJSU. School spirit is high and as you walk around campus you can see Spartan Squad shirts everywhere.

There are 2,500+ students who have signed up for Spartan Squad and appear to be proudly sharing in the vision of Brad and myself as these t-shirts are being worn at all athletics events.

The goal to create huge golden student sections at every game is beginning to come around.

At the home opening football game at SJSU, on September 3rd, the football team entertained the members of the Spartan Squad by serenading them in the stands after they won, with the SJSU fight song.

In a valley known for its innovation Spartan Squad has become SJSU's new movement. With this movement the tides have changed and a new time has come.

It is a time for school spirit and a time for celebration.

Welcome to the new SJSU.

Where we see Spartan Squad in the future:

Brad and I always think Long Term.

We would like to come back to the university ten years down the road as proud alumni and see every single student in the jam packed into student section blanketed in Spartan Squad t-shirts and screaming out the fight song together in perfect unison.

Whether or not that will happen will remain to be seen, but based on the response of students thus far, including the media praise given to us (regarding student participation in the Spartan Squad) from head football coach Dick Tomey that vision doesn't sound like to much of a pipe dream.

One thing is for certain.

Brad and I will be graduating at the end of the spring semester and we will be looking to take our strong leadership, communication skills and creativity abilities out into the "real world." Job offers are definitely welcomed.

Matthew Olivieri can be reached via email at matteo2081@gmail.com and Brad Villeggiante can be reached via email at vslotcar@aol.com


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