Panther Nation to cheer at Nashville

Student Body President Michelle Murphy’s request for a money allocation to get a fan bus to support the women’s basketball team was approved Thursday during the Apportionment Board meeting.

Murphy, a senior communication studies major, was allowed to present the allocation request before the AB after being approved Wednesday by the Student Senate.

The fan bus will be taking Eastern students to Nashville from March 3-5 and will operate much like it did when a bus was provided for the Eastern versus Illinois State University football game.

Eastern’s women’s basketball team has participated in the championship game for the last two years.

“Most of these schools we are facing are in Tennessee and Kentucky,” she said.

Eastern students do not usually have the ability to just drive up in their cars, she said.

Murphy founded Panther Nation to provide the university’s sports teams with a large cheering section at both home and some away games, replacing the Blue Crew.

The people at these schools are relatively close to Nashville and can just drive to the game, but Eastern still has a large cheering section, she said.

“It’s just important all around to create this culture of caring about Eastern athletics,” Murphy said.

The Student Senate will have to approve AB’s approval before Murphy can receive the $2,000 allocation.

In order to get approved, Murphy will have to prove that at least 55 Eastern students will want to pay the tentative $25.

“We get a lot of people from all kinds of groups (on campus),” Murphy said. “It builds comradery.”

Student fees will cover the cost of the renting the bus and the $25 will cover the cost of the needed hotel rooms.

Murphy and the student senate are also talking to the University Board to help co-sponsor the trip.

“Otis (Seawood) and I are going to work together,” Murphy said.

The fan bus will be on a first come-first serve basis.

“(The only) deal breaker would be students having to miss two days of school,” she said.

Murphy said that while missing school is never ideal there is nothing she could do about it.

Murphy will announce what time students will leave campus at a later date.

Murphy said she wants the bus to leave early enough to have enough seats for everyone attending the game from Eastern.

Kendall Jackson, a junior family consumer science major, has taken a fan bus to Nashville before.

“Personally for me it was a good experience,” Jackson said during the Student Senate’s meeting Wednesday. “We are always talking about raising our school spirit. This is a great way to do it.”

Nike Ogunbodede can be reached at 581-7943 or [email protected].