A traditional college centers their athletics department around their biggest sport — and, in many cases, that sport involves helmets, big hits and tailgates. But anyone who knows anything about NYU knows that’s not what you’ll find here. Although American culture has integrated football into the typical college experience, the absence of such a popular game has only strengthened the NYU athletics community as a whole. With cooperation among both athletes and fans, Violet Nation, launched in 2013, has successfully created a supportive and exciting environment for each and every sports team.
Still a growing project, Violet Nation continues to gain popularity and participation. Students all over campus are beginning to better understand its purpose.
“Its goal is to build a support base within the community in order to ensure that there is a support system for the athletes,” freshman Caroline Rapp said. “People just want to motivate the athletes.”
While the program has increased fan excitement at games, there is always room for improvement. As an outside hitter on the varsity women’s volleyball team, Rapp has already experienced her fair share of Violet Nation events.
“Sometimes it is successful when events are planned well.” Rapp said. “But a lot of our facilities, especially for sports, are spread out which makes it hard to have a sufficient fan base and to have support for every single game from different teams. The baseball team practices so far away. Soccer is uptown, so it’s hard for fans to make it to games sometimes.”
While location has seemed to inconvenience many fans this year, athletes are hopeful that attendance will improve in the future at the conclusion of the Coles renovations.
“Older people on my team always talk about the fact that Coles was on campus, and how that allowed a lot more groups to be able to have access to athletic games,” Rapp said.
In an effort to further increase participation, Violet Nation distributes merchandise at home games. This change has provided fans with additional incentive to support their sports teams.
Athletic support starts with student participation. With the proper amount of advertisement, Violet Nation can spread the word and get many students involved and excited about varsity sports. NYU students are sometimes not made aware of when and where games take place. It is Violet Nation’s priority to more thoroughly spread information.
“Awareness among people who don’t play sports is very limited because they are not following the events of NYU athletics,” Rapp said. That is not what our school is centered around. But awareness can improve as long as Violet Nation keeps advertising and publicizing events.”
The athletics community deserves to be recognized, and each player appreciates being given the opportunity to represent New York University. A large support system will only further motivate and encourage athletes to perform at their highest level of play. Despite its perpetual struggles to get turnout at games, Violet Nation has successfully served as the official community that enhances NYU athletics. A fairly new program, it is still working to further increase fan attendance by involving students, alumni, faculty and families alike. With the use of Facebook and Twitter pages in addition to advertising around campus, Violet Nation expects to see positive results as the sport seasons continue.
Freshman varsity freestyle and backstroke swimmer Serena Lightstone is grateful to play a part in the NYU sports program and appreciates Violet Nation’s attempts to create a larger community.
“The best part about being on a sports team here is being able to contribute to the sports community,” Lightstone said. “In the city, everyone’s practicing or training in different places, but people still make an effort to come out and watch. You automatically have a support system.”
Editor’s Note: Zel Fortson plays on the women’s volleyball team.
A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Nov. 7 print edition. Email Zel Fortson at [email protected]