CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) – After moving away from traditional cheer and dance squads earlier this year, West Texas A&M has announced its new University Spirit Program.
The new University Spirit Program will encompass all of WT’s spirit organizations and initiatives, including a new WT Spirit Squad as well as beloved traditions like Maroon Platoon, Bucky the Mascot, West Texas Wednesdays and more.
Amber Black, assistant vice president of student engagement and success said they believe this new University Spirit Program will increase student engagement on campus.
“We hope that every student that comes to WT will fill a sense of belonging on campus and we really hope to increase the wt spirit among all of our students,” said Black.
According to the University, the components of University Spirit include:
- WT Spirit Squad: The new squad will be comprised of 24 student athletes with either dance or cheer skills. The WT Spirit Squad will engage the crowd by leading cheers and chants, entertaining at halftime and breaks, and assisting with promotions and contests. The Spirit Squad also can perform at a variety of special events or celebrations. Tryout information will be available at wtamu.edu/spirit in early May; additional details will be announced soon. Those with tumbling, dance and cheer experience will be able to showcase their individual talents through the tryout process.
- Maroon Platoon: The student-led organization, with chanting and dancing members decked out in maroon body paint, will continue to play a valuable role at athletic competitions.
- Herdsmen and Thunder: The University’s live buffalo mascot is cared for by the men and women of the Herdsmen, under the oversight of the Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences.
Other University Spirit initiatives noted include Bucky the Mascot; West Texas Wednesdays, when students, faculty and staff wear maroon weekly; Buff Branding, a series of orientation events designed to introduce elements of campus life to new students and transfers; Pigskin Revue, the traditional Homecoming pep rally; the Homecoming parade; Paint the Town Maroon, where WT students paint windows around campus and Canyon for Homecoming Week; student organization tailgating; and more.
Macy Hoyler, a WTAMU cheerleader said that she has made the decision to transfer from WT due to the new direction.
“It was super hard. It was something I really struggled with because I grew there. I learned not only about myself, but I gained friendships that will be lifelong. I made family there and it was really like a home,” said Hoyler.
She believes the university didn’t take into consideration that fans like watching the dancers dance and the cheerleaders do their routines.
Hoyler said that even if the university changes course on the new spirit squad, she will not return.
“I’m fighting for future generations and for people that want to come to wt and want to join this program, but as for me I don’t want to be a part of that environment and just knowing that I’m not appreciated there,” said Hoyler.
Hoyler said that she knows of over half of the current WT Cheer squad who have found a new team to join and who have already started their transfer process.
The University Spirit is a new program of the Student Enrollment, Engagement and Success Division, housed within its Office of Student Engagement and Leadership.
For more details on University Spirit, visit wtamu.edu/spirit.
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