Join the Bruin Fan Alliance

Jul. 23 -- Launching today, the Bruin Fan Alliance is a great opportunity to play a bigger role in the UCLA fan community...

As anyone who has read the BRO message board for a while can attest, there is plenty of passion in the UCLA fanbase, even if it isn't always acknowledged by the national media or included in the stereotype of the typical UCLA fan.

Recognizing that, a group of UCLA fans and former UCLA players have banded together to form the Bruin Fan Alliance, a fan organization founded on some of the same principles as the Seattle Sounders Alliance, which you can read about here.

*The primary concept: UCLA fans as a collective, rather than as individuals, can provide a much stronger presence and influence in many different avenues, from the perspective of boosterism, to philanthropy, to mentorship, to, yes, even having their voices heard in the UCLA administration.

In addition to founding members like Chairman Gene Karzen (class of '85) and co-chair of Philanthropy Greg Turk (class of '83), former players have played a key role in founding the Alliance and will play a big role in many of the efforts going forward. Former football athletes Dietrich Riley, Donovan Carter, Aaron Hester, and former track athlete Nijah Nelms will each play a significant role in furthering the Alliance's core missions.

Those missions coalesce into three main categories:

*Boosterism -- The Alliance will fuel the enthusiasm that exists within Bruin fans while striving to energize a wider, more-impassioned fan base. The Alliance will respect long-standing traditions while fostering new traditions as a touchstone for growth and transformation.

*Philanthropy -- The Alliance will work closely with UCLA Charitable Foundations to provide a platform through which the Alliance can serve the greater community with pride and humility.

*Mentorship -- The Alliance will provide a former student athlete mentorship platform. As UCLA student athlete pivot toward life after competitive sports, the Alliance will introduce successful UCLA alumni in the community to former student athletes for mentorship and counsel.

Of those three missions, the mentorship program might be the most interesting from a football and basketball perspective. One of the main recruiting tactics -- even outside of just football -- for USC over the years has been to emphasize the perceived strength of its alumni network, especially in relation to the perceived weakness of the alumni network at UCLA. The mentorship program could help to level that playing field, with former players and prominent alumni taking a big role in helping student-athletes after their playing careers are over. There are definitely recruiting implications when coaches can point to a strong mentorship program for student-athletes.

What differentiates this from a booster group is that there will be a significant attempt to have consistent dialogue with the athletic department. The goal is that twice a year, members of the Advisory board of the Alliance will meet with athletic department representatives to go over feedback and proposed changes from the collective fanbase. The bigger the constituency and the more unanimous the feedback, the more likely it is that it will be heard and acted upon.

There are many other ways in which the Bruin Fan Alliance will be beneficial to UCLA fans as a whole, and former student-athletes in particular. One proposal is a ticket exchange, whereby any Alliance member can donate a football seat to go toward getting a seat at a game for any former UCLA football player and his +1. Keeping former players involved and passionate about the program is one of the goals of the Alliance.

But for this sort of organization to have real staying power, fans will need to participate. To make this a legitimate organization that can provide massive benefits to the UCLA community and also establish a give-and-take relationship with the athletic department, fans will need to become involved. To join the Bruin Fan Alliance, or simply to learn more about the organization, visit www.bruinfanalliance.com.

Currently, the Advisory board of the Alliance has 15 remaining spots open. Being part of the Advisory board would give you a chance to be a part of the bi-annual meetings with the athletic department, and would also give you the opportunity to help shape the decisions and goals of the Bruin Fan Alliance.

If the Bruin Fan Alliance is shaped correctly by the voices of the many passionate UCLA fans, it can be a powerful force for elevating the state of UCLA fandom and helping, in some way, to influence the future of UCLA athletics. Be a part of that future and join the Alliance.

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