The Student Committee on Athletics (SCOA) at the University of Iowa has been working hard to enhance student sports participation, something that some say has taken a decline in recent years. As part of their effort, the SCOA has organized what appears to be the start of an annual event dedicated the Iowa Hawkeyes: Hawkapalooza.
Hawkapalooza is a pep rally and concert at 6:30 p.m., Sept. 3 in Hubbard Park on the University of Iowa campus.
The event's goal is to ramp up excitement before the football team's home-opener with Northern Iowa on Sept. 5. It will precede FryFest, another activity geared toward the Iowa faithful.
SCOA Chairman and U of Iowa senior Tim McLaughlin said the organizers of SCOA wanted to focus on pep rallies and social media as ways to show Hawkeye Pride.
"When this committee started at beginning of spring semester in 2009, we made an original list of objectives, and one of the things was to have pep rallies before athletics events," he said. "We thought that starting this year would be a good idea for football. We thought doing a concert at the end of [the pep rally] would be a good idea to get people excited about [the UNI game]."
The committee received several financial commitments from various university departments and faculty members. UI President Sally Mason even chipped in $10,000.
"My leadership team and I felt strongly that this is an event that clearly deserves our support," Mason said in a statement sent to the Iowa student newspaper The Daily Iowan. "Hawkapalooza is an ideal opportunity to honor our students for their valuable contributions to our university and the community, to contribute to our vibrant campus life, and to enjoy some well-earned entertainment in a safe and secure environment."
The committee utilized the financial commitments and community support wisely. The pep rally will be hosted by the "Voice of the Hawkeyes," Gary Dolphin and Grammy award-winning artist Lupe Fiasco will perform at the first annual Hawkapalooza concert.
In addition to the event, the SCOA has setup an interactive Website and Facebook page, using social media as a way to organize the Web 2.0 version of pep rallies.
Hawkapalooza will be open to the entire university and all Iowa communities, but the main focus is on increasing student participation. The football game against UNI will be the main focus but the event will not be geared toward football alone and will encourage support for all Hawkeye activities.