On any college campus just about the last people you?d expect to be in a room together are the teams from athletics and the museums. Their worlds are so different, it doesn?t happen often.
But that?s just what?s happening at BYU. And it?s going to change the BYU Football game day experience.
Last year, BYU's Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing and Promotions David Almodova got a call from a father who was coming to Provo from out of town for a Football game. He was bringing his son and some friends and he wanted to show the kids around campus before the game. You know, to give them a sense of what it might be like to go to college one day.
?I honestly didn?t know what to tell him,? Almodova said. ?I didn?t know of any campus entities, except the BYU Store, that were open to our game day visitors.?
Of course, in his role traveling with the BYU Football team, Almodova gets to see how college campuses across the country celebrate game day. He wanted to do the same at BYU and expand the stadium experience across campus.
?We want to give everyone who attends a BYU Football game the opportunity to come and see this great University and what it has to offer,? he said. ?We want to make this campus a part of the game day experience.?
Experience BYU Campus Before Kickoff
To create a great experience, several times this summer Almodova and his team in Athletics Marketing met with colleagues from across campus - the BYU Store and BYU Dining Services and the five BYU museums: the Monte L. Bean Life Sciences Museum, the Museum of Art, the Museum of Peoples and Cultures, the Museum of Paleontology and Education in Zion Gallery - to talk about how they could partner together in this venture.
Once all the introductions were made, the ideas started flowing. From extended hours and giveaways to $1.50 ice cream cones and 2-for-1 Cannon Center meals, each member of the group was able to find many ways their venue could uniquely celebrate game day.
?Football ticket holders should explore all that BYU Campus has to offer,? said Kathryn Dawson, events specialist at the Museum of Peoples and Cultures. ?With museums now open on game days, as well as the BYU Store, those who come to enjoy the game can make it a full day experience of learning, shopping and exploring. Whether alumni or guests, seeing all that BYU has to offer will be a fun, rewarding experience for all age groups.?
Forming a New Partnership
Besides coming up with new events for BYU Football fans, the group has enjoyed the opportunity to partner with those across campus they don?t normally get to.
"While museums haven't traditionally been connected to sports on campus, Athletics has been great to partner with on this project,? said Kari Nelson, education curator at the Museum of Peoples and Cultures. ?We can tell they really want to make game day an exciting total campus experience, for the football fan, the student, and the museums as well."
Heather Seferovich, exhibit educator at the Education in Zion, a gallery telling the story of BYU and education in the Joseph F. Smith Building, agrees.
?In many ways, this is what BYU is all about, the education of the whole soul: body, mind and spirit,? said Seferovich. ?I think the Athletics division realized this and that?s why they partnered with the campus museums. The representatives from Athletics have been tremendously supportive, and I look forward to a long partnership with them.?
The planning team also knows that the fans might not be thinking about coming to a museum on game day. But they are hopeful to be able to change a few minds.
?BYU sports fans represent all ages and come from all walks of life,? said Seferovich. ?Many fans wanted more of the campus experience on game days?especially if they?re spending a Saturday with children, grandchildren, nieces or nephews.?
Come Early to Four Saturday Home Games
This year, the planning team is focused on creating a great campus experience for the four home Saturday Football games: Sept. 12, Oct. 10, Oct. 24 and Nov. 21. Each of the museums, the BYU Store, the Creamery on 9th, the Cannon Center at Helaman Halls and the Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni and Visitor?s Center plan to be open some hours on Saturday and many will be offering special exhibits, giveaways and drawings for tickets and t-shirts.
?It has been a fun experience to partner with Athletics on this project and to work with so many other departments on campus to help create a fun and memorable experience for our community on football game days,? said the Bean Life Science Museum's Katy Knight. ?I hope we can start a great tradition.?
A new game day tradition of exploring campus. That?s exactly what Athletics? Almodova hopes too.
?It's Game Day,? said Almodova. ?I?d love to see thousands of Cougar fans show up early and explore campus, tailgate and then go to the Cougar Walk to welcome the team to the stadium and be a part of the pre-game festivities.?