Barton Student Bulldog Club Growling Loud!
For decades Barton College has had a very active Bulldog Club, composed of alumni and friends who support its athletic program financially and with great attendance at the sites of competition. For the 2010-11 year the Bulldog Club membership grew to over 150 persons, couples, and businesses as they filled the stands not only to support the Barton teams when playing in Wilson, but on the road as well. The athletic program has been very grateful for this help from the “team behind the teams.”
In recent years the College has witnessed an extension of the long-standing Bulldog Club emerge as the Student Bulldog Club has become a very popular campus group. By the end of September, the club’s membership had grown to 34, with still more interested in joining. The club is organized along with all other recognized groups on campus under the standards set by the Division of Student Affairs and the Student Government Association.
Junior Nursing major Bry Cauthen is serving for a second year as the club’s President, sophomore Ericka Skinner serves as Vice President, and junior Crystal Weideman serves as Public Relations Representative. Members pay $10 in dues to join and receive a royal blue T-shirt made exclusively for them, a foam #1 finger, and a hoop head. The hoop head, a blue headband with “Bulldogs” printed on the front topped with an inverted basketball net, became popular a year ago as dozens of them were made available to students traveling to support our basketball teams in a pair of victories at Mount Olive College.
“Taking on the President position of the Student Bulldog Club has been a fun and busy rollercoaster,” said Cauthen. “I took the position late last year, and I knew very early on that a lot had to done with the club. We managed to have our own T-shirts printed up, and not to my surprise we had a great number of students who wanted to show their spirit for the Bulldogs. Along with the help of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), the Student Bulldog Club was able to start an annual tradition with the Pink and Red Game. This game meant a lot because the male and female basketball players wore pink and red in support of breast cancer and aids awareness. All of the proceeds went to the local organizations.”
This year has already shown to be a success for the club,” continued Cauthen. “We had the biggest turnout of the club’s history with over 40 people interested in joining. I cannot express my happiness about the overall excitement about this year from the growing numbers of students and staff here at the College. I made sure to start this year early, and to make leaps and bounds from where we were last year. We have already set dates for tailgating, body painting, and travel to games. We have a great board of members who help with any and everything I ask of them. One of the newest additions this year is our Facebook fan page. Its purpose is to keep members informed of upcoming events, draw spirit, and to hopefully attract new members. I can honestly say I am happy with the hard work every one of the members is putting in, and I can’t wait to see where this year takes us.”
In addition to the very visible, vocal support the Student Bulldog Club has become known to provide from reserved seating beside Barton’s cheer team at home basketball games, for 2011-12 the club has plan to broaden its efforts. Club members hit the road as a group to cheer for Barton’s men’s and women’s cross country teams in a race at nearby East Carolina University on September 23. Plans have been made for a tailgate event at the soccer teams’ doubleheader on the evening of October 19. On November 2 the club will gather to support the women’s volleyball team in its match against Coker College and enjoy snacks and beverages served to them…appropriately in the Dunn Bulldog Club Room. Look for the Student Bulldog Club to be out in force in the Dog House (Wilson Gymnasium) when home regular season basketball kicks off on November 15.
In the current year the club plans to find a way to be in attendance to directly support as many of Barton’s 16 intercollegiate athletic teams as possible. Encouraging sportsmanship by cheering for the Bulldogs, and not primarily against the opponent is a goal. The club will be staffing the Bully (mascot) costume at campus and community events, having already done so for the recent Family Weekend activities. On Barton College’s Day of Service, a day on which classes do not meet and students and employees volunteer to work on projects in the community, the Student Bulldog Club will go to Wilson’s Boykin Center to assist The Arts Council of Wilson with some work to be done at that facility. As they did a year ago the club also has plans to help with fund-raising for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, NCAA Division II’s designated non-profit entity, and for cancer awareness.
Gary W. Hall, in his 23rd year as Barton’s Director of Athletics, serves as the club’s advisor. ‘This club has great momentum and has gotten off to a great start for 2011-12,” said Hall. “Bry Cauthen has demonstrated outstanding leadership and has gotten other students really enthused about being a part of this group. Anything attached to athletics should be fun, and the members of this club want to enjoy themselves while at the same time displaying great school spirit in support of their peers playing on our teams. Barton has been known for many years for packing loud, die-hard fans into the Dog House to create a great home court basketball environment. We are now having numbers of over 300 at home soccer and volleyball games and the Student Bulldog Club members help set the tone for this type of support. It is exciting to be around the young people in this club. They are enthused about being at Barton College and participating in the life of the College and the Wilson community.”
We underwent a significant reorganization of the our athletic department for 2011-12 and with the addition of Todd Wilkinson in our newly-created position as Assistant Director of Athletics, I have been freed up to take more initiative in some areas, such as advising the Student Bulldog Club,” added Hall. “This club got off to a very successful beginning during the 2007-08 year, but was on inactive status by 2009-10. I became its advisor for 2010-11 and with the commitment of Bry and our other officers, the Student Bulldog Club regained momentum and membership. The ultimate goal is for being a member of the Student Bulldog Club to be one of many great experiences enjoyed by students while attaining their education, and for them as alums to continue as Bulldog Club members and support Barton College for life.”
In addition to the officers, current members of the Student Bulldog Club are: Rene Allen, Kasey Byzewski, Sarah Casey, Danni Campbell, Jacob Cobb, Beth Coble, Samantha Colein, Sarah Conger, Nichole Darden, Jessica Dean, Heather Gatton, Autumn Herrin, Will Hine, Katelyn Jarman, Matt Lemmons, Taylor Myers, Catherine Okafor, Angel Pearsall, Allison Peedin, Jamie Proctor, Kathern Shaner, Charmayne Simpson, Nick Smith, Kinnan Stallings, Ashley Strickland, Haley Todaro, Logan Upchurch, Denise Walker, Ariel Wilkins, Sarah Wilson, and Lauren Wismann.