UT Receives NCAA Game Environment Award

Published: Dec 17, 2010
 There were kittens on campus, a contest with people eating chili out of dog bowls and a race to see who could get their puppy to come to them first, all marketing tools used in the Score a Pet event at a UT men’s soccer game.

The events won The University of Tampa commendation in the "ideas that work" category during the 2010 NCAA Division II Game Environment Award of Excellence contest. A total of 11 winning institutions received $500 to use toward future game environment initiatives on campus.

This marks the second win for UT in three years for this particular Best in Conference award.

"Our goal was to create theme nights for home games that included the UT community and an outside charitable organization that would attract attention for our game and provide community outreach," says associate athletic director Gil Swalls.

The idea behind the Score a Pet event was to encourage students to volunteer at the Humane Society of Tampa Bay. The week before the game, the UT Athletics marketing team had kittens at a table in the Vaughn Center and information on volunteer opportunities. The Humane Society brought adoptable pets to the soccer game and various pet-themed contests were held during the game. By the end of the event, 10 students had signed up to volunteer.

"I am happy for both UT Athletics and the Humane Society that this Score a Pet event met our goal and was recognized by NCAA," Swalls said.
Melissa Chipchack ’11, Amber Molidor ’12 and Kelsie Cubit ’12 coordinated this theme night for the fall 2009 men's soccer game versus Lynn University and utilized the help of the entire marketing team.

“For me, animals are a passion,” said Molidor, a film production major who wants to be an animal trainer for film and television. She has previous experience training police and service dogs. “It was so fun for us and also a lot of work, but it was worth it. I’m happy we won.”

The overall winner will be announced during the 2011 NCAA Convention at the opening of the business session.