Weber State University students and community members gathered at The Junction in downtown Ogden for the Homecoming pep rally Monday night.
Following tradition, attendees painted a “W” at 5:00 p.m. at the intersection in the Junction and all posed for a photo. Then at 6:15 p.m., WSU football coach Jody Sears addressed the crowd, followed by the team captains and student body president Andrew Gardiner. Following the speakers, students stuck around The Junction to enjoy pep rally perks including discount tacos and free bowling.
“We do this every year to celebrate and encourage the football team and pep everyone up for the upcoming game,” Gardiner said. “We’re trying to get the community and students’ support for athletics.”
Sears said Eastern Washington University will be a tough competitor in the Homecoming Game on Saturday.
“Eastern Washington will come in this weekend with a strong offense, and their real strength is their defense,” Sears said.
Sears explained the meaning of the football team’s theme for this year, SWAG.
“The ‘S’ stands for ‘Selflessness,’ the W stands for ‘Work harder,’ the ‘A’ stands for ‘Attitude’ and the ‘G’ stands for ‘Great attitude,” he said. “Those are our covenants, the values and principles we want to represent.”
Gardiner asked the audience to each make a pledge they would come to the game and not miss another game all season.
“Not only you come, but grab as many people and get as many people to support our teams as you possibly can,” he said. “This energy we have here is infectious, and we need more of Ogden City and more students to get involved.” He reminded everyone that the WSUSA theme for this year is “believe” and that the WSUSA believes in the football team.
In an interview after his speech, Gardiner said although the pep rally was still small, it gets bigger and bigger every year and that he’s excited for what that means for WSU.
“This, to me, is exciting because all these people love Weber and want to support the football team and the cheer squad and athletics in general,” he said. “This would just tie the community together, and every year it will get better and better.”
After the speeches and program ended, the football team and many members of the cheer squad left The Junction at about 7 p.m.
Perks offered to students at The Junction included $1.50 tacos at Sonora Grill, a free bowling lane at FatCats, a free indoor surfing session at Flowrider, a free rock climbing session at iRock, a $5 giftcard to the Megaplex and a 10 percent discount at Subzero.
WSU senior Lacey Johnson said attending the pep rally and other Homecoming events is part of her effort to become more involved this year.
“I’ve done more in the past four weeks since I decided to get involved than I did in the past few years,” she said. “My social life is so much better since then. I feel happier, and I’ve met more people.”
Johnson said she went to one Homecoming Game two years ago and has not attended a football game since, but plans to attend this Saturday.
“I think it depends on the people you go with and if you have the right attitude that determines whether you get into it,” she said. “I went to the game last Saturday, and because I wanted to be into it, I was even though we lost. To be honest I don’t care who wins because the fun part is the experience of going to the games.”
Johnson attended the pep rally with her friend and neighbor Jessica Dills, a WSU freshman. Dills said Johnson’s experience has pushed her to get involved right away.
Other Homecoming events this week will include a Family Dance and Homecoming Dance Friday night, and a tailgate party before the game saturday. For more information, visit www.weber.edu/homecoming.