Nashville fan bus available

The student government is providing a fan bus for Eastern students willing to pay $35 to watch the women’s basketball team play in Nashville, Tenn. The fee will pay for the bus ride, game tickets, a hotel room, a game day T-shirt and a free meal.

Student Body President Michelle Murphy said she wanted to give students, who would most likely not be able to drive five hours from campus to Nashville, a chance to cheer on their fellow Panthers.

“(The other universities) are mostly schools that are near Nashville, so watching a sea of blue walk into the arena is a great intimidation weapon,” said Murphy, a senior communication studies major.

Eastern has made it to the championship game the last two years, but the basketball team has fallen short both years, Murphy said.

“We have a young team, but I’m very confident that when we get there and have all of our fans and parents, our school song playing, blue in the crowd- it’s helpful to have that ‘sixth man,'” she said.

Eastern students attending the Ohio Valley Conference will be in Nashville from March 3 to 5. Because of the conference schedule, students will miss two days of school.

While missing school is never ideal, there is nothing that could be done about it, Murphy said.

The three-day trip will start with participating students being picked up outside of Lantz Arena at 5 a.m. to make it to the game by noon.

“The return time will depend on our win/loss record at the tournament,” she said.

The team Eastern will be facing is also unclear at this time.

The fan bus sign-up will be on a first come-first serve basis for a maximum of 50 Eastern students. The $35 fee will have to be paid as soon as students sign up.

Students must know their E-number to verify they are Eastern students, Murphy said. Participants will be staying in the Days Inn Music City Drive with four people per room.

“You get to know people who care about EIU and EIU athletics, and that’s a great thing to have in common with someone,” she said.

While the bulk of the trip is about supporting Eastern’s women’s basketball team, students will also be able to travel downtown and around the city.

“We take a trip to the mall at least once during the trip,” Murphy said. “There are lots of great places to eat, sites to see and music to hear.”

Students can sign up today in the Student Activity Center of the Martin Luther King Jr. University Union.

“There are very few opportunities to take trips like this, and I work hard to make these trips one of the ones that will stay in your memory of one of your greatest Eastern experiences,” Murphy said.

Nike Ogunbodede can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].