Blue Crew prepares for tailgate, first home football game


Jay Grabiec

EIU homecoming football game at O’Brien Field on the campus of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois on October 25, 2014. (Jay Grabiec)

Kalyn Hayslett, Verge Editor

Missing out on being a part of the cheerful band because of a devastating head concussion inspired Amie Hanson to revitalize the school spirit group Blue Crew last year.

Blue Crew, with the help of face paint, beads, foam fingers and pom-poms, prepare for the matchup against our rival Illinois State at 7 p.m. on Saturday at O’Brien Field.

Embodying Eastern’s school spirit, increasing participation in athletic events and building leadership opportunities is the heartbeat of this newly reestablished Registered Student Organization.

“We create a family within Blue Crew and build a community that loves Eastern and its games, which then increases school spirit at our school,” Hanson said.

Approximately 150 members are a part of Blue Crew currently but the ultimate goal for the organization is to be the largest organization on campus, Hanson said.

The crew leads pep within the stands by coordinating with the marching band with chants, cheers and clap-patterns.

Sarah Hollenstine, a sophomore kinesiology sports studies major, said her experience in Blue Crew and being a part of a positive and up-beat group helped her gain more confidence.

“Before this I was in a shell and you have to burst out of your shell to be a part Blue Crew,” Hollenstine said.

Before a football game, the crew prepares together by decorating themselves in full blue, grey and white colors and walk behind the marching band into the stadium.

“It makes me feel proud to be a Panther and founder of the Blue Crew when there is a mass of Blue Crew members because I can just look back and see a sea of blue,” Hanson said.

However, the crew is excited to participate at the #futurepanthers tailgate, sponsored by the admissions office, starting at 4:15 p.m. with check-in and cookout at 5:30 p.m. held at the Campus Pond.

They plan to start a chant during the tailgate and boost the moral of the students with their enthusiasm and by being sociable.

“My favorite part is dancing to the songs during half-time and time-outs because they play oldies which are the good stuff,” Kersten Kidd, a junior communication disorders and sciences major, said.

If you are interested in being a part of Blue Crew you can join by emailing the organization at [email protected] and paying an entry fee for their T-shirt.

“It’s one of the best ways to get incorporated at the university and takes everyone from all different departments to come together to support Eastern,” Gretchen Butterfield, a sophomore biology major, said.

Kalyn Hayslett can be reached at 581-2812

or [email protected].