Megan Raposa

From singlets to togas, the Augieholics are not shy about dressing up for sporting events. Before each game, the group works together to decide on a theme that encourages students to dress up for the games.

“Augieholics is very largely based on tradition,” senior Kyle Mielke said.

Many of the theme nights center on themes that have been popular in past years, such as toga night for basketball and “strip tease” night for volleyball in which students wear an additional 25 articles of clothing and take off one for each point scored. Even at games that do not have a focused “traditional” theme, the Augieholics try to have a cohesive student section.

For example, at one game this season Augieholics gave away approximately 200 pairs of sunglasses with the Vikings mascot screen printed on them.

“It’s not really a theme, but it’s a way to get students to the game and to get students fired up,” athletic fundraising and promotions assistant Bryan Miller said.

Miller, the faculty adviser to the Augieholics, helps the group attract students to the games by arranging for sponsors to give away T-shirts, towels and other fun gear to game attendees. These giveaways also play a role in setting game themes. For example, for the home game against the University of Sioux Falls, the “sea of blue” theme was chosen to fit with the small blue towels provided by Midcontinent.

“We kind of correlate with what they’re doing,” sophomore and Augieholics president Abby Jensen said of fitting themes with giveaways.

In addition to giveaways provided by sponsors, the Augieholics also use giveaways to get more students to come to games. Earlier this year, they made “bro tanks” to give away at a basketball game.

“It makes it look like a theme because we’re all wearing the Ole shirt.” Jensen said. “It makes us look like one group.”

The primary goal of the Augieholics in creating themes for games is to encourage student attendance and participation. An average of 400 students attended the home football games this year, and attendance at basketball games averaged around 220 and 230, according to Miller.

“It just brings the students together,” he said. “It’s almost like being a part of the team on the court, so you’re all working together to be the best student section in the conference.”

Once the theme is selected, the group also has to publicize the theme to the students. Often the information about the theme is found through the Augieholics Facebook and Twitter pages.

“It helps when the athletes tweet at us … so we know that we actually make an impact when we go to the games,” Jensen said.

In addition to spreading the word via Facebook and Twitter, the Augieholics uphold the tradition of “storming” the freshmen dorms, in which group members play loud music and run through the dorms in order to generate excitement about the upcoming game.

“When I was a freshman, I loved to hear the loud banging by upperclassmen demanding me to attend an event,” Mielke said.

In choosing themes for games, the Augieholics work to find a balance in having a fun theme while still remaining appropriate.

“In front of where the Augieholics sit and where you guys stand are very influential people, so whatever we do, we have to be very tasteful,” Miller said. “We need to set a good example.”

Regardless of the theme, the goal of student involvement remains the same.

“Making memories is what theme nights are all about,” Mielke said. “It’s getting people in one place and making a fool of [themselves] by wearing something absolutely ridiculous.”