Sports

UH-Hilo Student Appreciation Night Set for Thursday

October 1, 2015, 7:07 AM HST
* Updated October 1, 7:12 AM
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It has long been a goal of the University of Hawai’i at Hilo athletic department to get students more involved in its athletic program.

On Thursday night, UH-Hilo will hope that free hot dogs, Pepsi, and admission to an inter-island volleyball rivalry, plus a live deejay and post-match dancing, will get more students to consistently attend Vulcan athletic events.

Thursday’s volleyball match between UH-Hilo and Hawai’i Pacific University is part of Student Appreciation Night on campus. It’s a prime night to engage the student body to get involved, especially with the Vulcans facing a familiar foe.

“This is something I’ve done in previous places,” said UH-Hilo athletic director Patrick Guillen, who came up with the idea. “More than 20 percent of our student population lives on campus, so we’ve got about 800 people who live on campus and we don’t have a lot of attendance.”

The goal of increasing student interest in UH-Hilo’s intercollegiate athletics programs is not new. Former athletic director Dexter Irvin moved basketball games from the Afook-Chinen Civic Auditorium to the UH-Hilo gymnasium several years ago to try to build the collegiate environment for home games. Results were mixed, not only with the students, but also with community members who were not interested in making the trek to the school’s gym.

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“The goal is, number one, to honor our students and get them into the stands,” Guillen explained. “Students turn over every year, and certainly every four years. I want to expose them to the environment, to the atmosphere, to the excitement. We have a really exciting team this year, and it is a lot of fun.”

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First serve is scheduled for 7 p.m. at the UH-Hilo Gymnasium. Students will get free admission to the game, as well as a hot dog and Pepsi. DJ PA3CO will spin music during the night, and a dance will follow in the gym after the match.

Thursday night’s Student Appreciation Night isn’t the only one scheduled for this year. Guillen plans to have one student-themed night for each sport he can possibly fit it in with, including baseball and basketball. Details for those nights will be announced at a later date.

Thursday’s match with Hawai’i Pacific can be heard on ESPN Radio AM 850 Hilo and AM 790 Kona.

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